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ITK calls for increased internet access, reliability and affordability in Inuit Nunangat as part of COVID-19 recovery plans

By August 16, 2021 No Comments

August 16, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Affordable, reliable high-speed broadband in Inuit Nunangat is imperative to allow Inuit to participate equitably in society and the economy. However, availability of high-speed internet in Inuit communities lags behind the rest of Canada as well as many other Arctic jurisdictions.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s latest Research Briefing, ‘The Digital Divide: Broadband Connectivity in Inuit Nunangat’, focuses on telecommunications and broadband connectivity in Inuit Nunangat. It provides an overview of internet access in Inuit Nunangat, and infrastructure required to bridge the digital divide between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada. Promising international practices are highlighted and compared with Canada’s current connectivity strategy.

Heavy reliance on internet for education and work during the pandemic put Inuit at a disadvantage during periods of mandatory stay-at-home orders and restricted travel. Broadband connectivity supports educational attainment, spurs economic development, and can improve access to services such as health care in a region where service delivery is challenging. Inuit Nunangat lacks the infrastructure to make broadband connectivity a reality for our people.

“Providing reliable, affordable internet to Inuit Nunangat is a modern-day nation-building exercise. The internet is an essential service, and is needed to enable Inuit to advance in almost any domain, but specifically education, research, essential services, and economic development to name a few,” said ITK President Natan Obed. “Access to reliable internet would bridge the geographic distance between Inuit Nunangat and southern Canada, and bring Inuit our homeland fully into Canada.”