Broadcaster Magazine

Telesat Proposes Investment to Expand Broadband Services in Northern Canada

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  • Telesat, Canada’s premiere satellite services provider, announced today a proposal to remedy gaps and shortcomings in the communications infrastructure serving the North that were identified in the Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment  Report prepared for the Northern Communications & Information Systems Working Group and sponsored by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

    Under Telesat’s proposal, called the “Arctic Communications Infrastructure Initiative”, Telesat commits to make a substantial investment, in the context of a broader public/private partnership, in a robust, stable and affordable communications network that will meet the needs of the Northern communities over the next decade. Specifically, Telesat estimates it will cost $160 million to provide the additional communications infrastructure to meet the requirements outlined in the Report for the next ten years. Telesat is prepared to invest approximately $40 million, or 25% of the estimated total project cost, toward the initiative in both satellite bandwidth and ground segment upgrades.

    The Arctic Communications Infrastructure Initiative would more than double the satellite bandwidth available for broadband in the North and, moreover, provides a practical and near term plan for upgrading the communications infrastructure that is so urgently needed across the Arctic to ensure that every community has redundant and robust communications facilities to prevent service disruptions. Telesat estimates that, once approved, the project could be implemented in less than 12 months’ time.

    “Telesat has been serving the North for 40 years and is deeply committed to ensuring that Northern communities have access to a broadband communications infrastructure that is on par with that which exists in Southern Canada,” said Paul Bush, Telesat’s Vice President, Business Development.  “Our Arctic Communications Infrastructure Initiative will more than double the communications capacity serving the Arctic, provide urgently needed network redundancy in every Northern community, and put in place the long term funding required to ensure this modern and robust network is in place for at least the next ten years. Telesat is committing to invest 25% of the project cost for this important initiative and looks forward to working with other interested parties to ensure that those living and working in the North have access to a state-of-the art robust and broadband communications infrastructure, an infrastructure that is essential for Canada’s safety, sovereignty and security and the economic prosperity of the Arctic communities.”

    Telesat formally submitted its Arctic Communications Infrastructure Initiative to the co-chairs of the Northern Communications & Information Systems Working Group that led the development of the ACIA Report.