Intervention: Kativik Regional Government (Intervenor 240)

Document Name: 2015-134.223965.2394431.Intervention(1fbjz01!).pdf
****-François ****

Senior Coordinator of Programs and Partnerships, Tamaani Internet Administration Department

Kativik Regional Government
Tel.: *-***-***-****
July 13, 2015
Mr. John Traversy
Secretary General

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Ottawa, ON *** ***

Submitted Electronically

Re: Telecom Notice of Consultation 2015-134 Review of basic telecommunications services - File number: 8663-C12-201503186

**** Mr. Traversy,

1. The Kativik Regional Government (KRG), a public law body constituted under the Act respecting Northern villages and the Kativik Regional Government (CQLRR, c.

V-6.1), is a supra-municipal organisation that provides services to fourteen Northern villages in Nunavik, northern Quebec.

2. The KRG is responsible for a range of public services in the region some of which are critical for the safety and security of the population. Among these are the regional police force, civil security, and airport management. All of these services rely on telecommunications for coordination, especially in times of crisis. The availability and reliability of telephone and broadband Internet access is of paramount importance for the effective operation of these services.

3. The KRG also provides residential and commercial Internet services on a non-profit basis in the remote communities of Nunavik directly through its Tamaani Internet service. Tamaani Internet does not exist as a distinct organisation: it is a section of the KRG under the Administration department.

4. The fourteen Northern villages served are Akulivik, Aupaluk, Inukjuak, Ivujivik, Kangiqsujuaq, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Kangirsuk, Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuarapik, Puvirnituq, Quaqtaq, Salluit, Tasiujaq, and Umiujaq. These Northern villages are remote, fly-in only communities with a predominantly Inuit population. The lack of ground-based transportation options in these communities makes operating and supporting a network very costly.

5. The KRG, in partnership with Nunavik’s other region organisations (Makivik Corporation, Kativik School Board, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Avataq Cultural Institute, Nunavik Landholding Corporations Association, and Saputiit Youth Association) carried out extensive public consultations. The process, known as Parnasimautik, was launched in **** 2012 and consisted of public consultation workshops held in every Nunavik community between February and December 2013. It culminated in a comprehensive report published in November 20141 that documents the concerns in every facet of life in Nunavik, including health, education, justice, culture, family, employment, etc. Many sectors, in particular health and education, cited the limits of telecommunications infrastructure, especially the lack of sufficient bandwidth for broadband service in Nunavik, as an impediment to social development and service delivery.


6. The KRG supports the Commission’s review of basic telecommunications services.

Many of our concerns were communicated in the documents submitted to the Commission in the course of our participation in the investigation into satellite pricing (2014-44). Our concerns with the review of the Basic Service Objective are twofold: 1) the high cost of building and operating a broadband Internet network in our remote communities and 2) the reliability and modernisation of the local telephone infrastructure in our region.

7. All telecommunications in the fourteen villages rely on satellite technology for their transport network. The extreme cost of using satellite for transport networks limits our ability to expand our network to meet the growing demand. In order to make the service affordable, the KRG relies on contributions obtained from federal programs such as the National Satellite Initiative, the National Satellite Initiative round 2 and the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program. The Quebec Government, through its Villages Branchés and Fonds pour la réalisation d’initiatives régionales et locales, has also contributed funds to offset the cost of satellite transport. The KRG has recently applied to Industry Canada’s Connecting Canadians Northern Component program for continued financial support and at the time of writing, the acceptance of our proposal is pending approval. However, all of these initiatives are targeted initiatives of finite term and, as yet, there is no recurring funding mechanism to ensure the continuity of broadband services in the region.

Furthermore, these initiatives cover only capital costs for network upgrades and do not provide any financial support to defray the high operating costs of broadband Internet in very remote communities.

1 Parnasimautik Consultation Report, 2014, 8. The telephone infrastructure in the region appears to be aging and occasionally suffers problems that are significant enough to attract media coverage.2,3 In its current state, the infrastructure does not support any digital services or services such as 911 emergency service4 or voice messaging. The limited number of telephone circuits in the communities has caused public safety issues in the past, in particular with response to the 1999 New Year’s Day avalanche disaster in Kangiqsualujjuaq that claimed nine lives and where for hours following the tragedy, outside lines were practicably inaccessible.5 Following a public inquiry, the coroner issued a recommendation6 to provide priority telephone circuits for emergency purposes, but these were never implemented. Integration of the local telephone switches with a cellular telephone network has proven to be difficult for Nunacell, Nunavik’s sole cellular telephone operator. The KRG has followed with great interest the Commission’s activities which ultimately led to NorthwestTel’s modernisation plan ordered by the Commission in Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-771, and believes that the Commission should undertake a similar review for Nunavik.

9. The KRG participated in the Commission’s investigation into satellite pricing (2014-44) through the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN). In its responses, the KRG identified several key factors to critical to development of modern telecommunication services in Nunavik. Of primary concern is the high cost of deploying telecommunications infrastructure combined with the low market potential of very remote regions, which guarantees that any model that relies solely on market forces “to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians”7 in Nunavik will be doomed to failure. The KRG urges the Commission to review the role broadband Internet as a basic service and consider whether the policy objectives in section 7b and 7h of the Telecom Act can truly be met without a mechanism that provides adequate long term funding for telecommunications infrastructure that supports broadband Internet service in remote communities. Those most affected by the lack of quality telecommunications infrastructure are often aboriginal groups who consider that ownership and control of critical infrastructure in our communities is linked to aboriginal self-determination.

Lastly, service providers must be accountable to the communities they serve. Direct accountability results in improved quality of service and increases the likelihood that 2 Nunatsiaq News, Lousy telephone service puts Nunavik at risk, doctor says, 2012

3 Nunatsiaq News, Landline telephone screw-ups continue to plague Nunavik communities, 2014

4 Parnasimautik Consultation Report, 2014, p.155

5 Nunatsiaq News, Kangiqsualujjuaq coroner will report in ****,1999 6 **** Bérubé, Rapport enquête publique sur les causes et circonstances des décès [de] Louisa Annanack, Silas Annanack, Suzanna Annanack, **** Baron, **** Maggie ****, **** Etok, **** Etok, **** Etok, Elisa Sivanau **** survenus à Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nouveau-Québec le premier janvier 1999, 2000

7 Telecommunications Act, s. 7(b)

the objectives of the local population will be met. These factors should be important considerations in any future regulatory action that affects our communities.

10. The KRG would like to request to appear at the public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec.

We believe that, as an organisation that relies on telecommunications for critical services and as a provider of telecommunication services for remote Inuit communities, we bring a unique perspective and look forward to participating in these proceedings.

[original signed]
****-François ****
*** End of Document ***

Intervention: Kativik Regional Government (Intervenor 240)

Document Name: 2015-134.223965.2394432.Intervention(1fbk001!).html

The Kativik Regional Government is a supra-municipal entity with jurisdiction in Nunavik, Quebec. Our organisation represents Nunavik's fourteen Inuit Northern Villages. The KRG is responsible for a range of public services in the region, some of which are critical for the safety and security of the population. The KRG also provides residential and commercial Internet services on a non-profit basis, is the only regional Internet service provider in Nunavik and operates one of the largest FSS-based IP networks in the country. The KRG wishes to present its views on Internet service as a basic obligation, and on the current state of basic telephone services in the region. Raisons pour comparaitre / Reasons for appearanceTelecommunications is a vital tool for the social and economic development of Nunavik. Our concerns with the review of the Basic Service Objective are twofold: 1) the high cost of building and operating a broadband Internet network in our remote communities and 2) the reliability and modernisation of the local telephone infrastructure in our region. As the organisation responsible for broadband Internet delivery in Nunavik, the decision to include or exclude of broadband Internet as a basic service will have major rammifications on our ability to provide service and its financial model. These are critical issues for the KRG and the Inuit of Nunavik and we feel it would be to the benefit of all parties for us to appear at the hearings to be held in **** 2016 in Gatineau, Quebec.