Nunavut’s October 6 Disconnection - a report on the impact of the Anik F2 satellite failure on Nunavut
NBDC conducted a study to assess the impact of the Telesat’s Anik F2 satellite failure which occurred on October 6, 2011. The failure resulted in a total loss of satellite services for approximately 16 hours. The consequences in Nunavut were substantial: internet, cellular and long distance telephone services were unavailable; banks were closed, ATMs were not working, and stores operated on a cash-only basis; and flights were grounded.
An online survey was completed by 182 participants on a voluntary basis between November 7 and November 20, 2011. Not surprisingly, the almost total loss of communication services had an impact on worker productivity, with almost 90% of the respondents saying their productivity was adversely affected. Specifically, Internet access was cited as the most used communication service in a normal work day in Nunavut (62% use it all day, 29% use it 2-7 hours a day) and identified as extremely important (67%) or really important (19%) for work. The impact on personal life was equally marked. When asked how the outage affected their personal life, respondents frequently cited that they felt isolated and concerned about not being able to communicate with family members. Respondents also commented that had the outage lasted longer, it would have been more worrisome. Indeed, when asked specifically what length of outage would cause an emergency situation in their community, 90% of respondents said that a week long outage would be seen as an emergency.
Since the outage, measures have been taken to provide redundancy (access to another satellite) in some but not all Nunavut communities.
Read the full report.