The fibre link will be approximately 1,154 kilometers (717 miles) when completed to Tuktoyaktuk. The route length is equivalent to the distance between Vancouver, BC and Sacramento, California; or Montreal, Quebec and Chicago, Illinois.
Construction will take place in three phases: Winter & Summer 2015, Winter & Summer 2016, and Winter 2017.
Installation of the fibre optic cable will follow standard cable installation techniques. Along the all-weather road in the south, a cable plough will install a conduit up to 1m (3.28 ft) below ground surface.
On the winter road and north to Inuvik, an 10-15cm (4-6 inch) wide trench will be opened up using a trenching wheel, which allows the cable to be installed at a depth of up to 30-60 cm (12-24 inches) below ground surface. Once the cable is laid, the trench is immediately backfilled and graded.
Where permafrost is present, the cable is placed within the active layer, reducing potential effects on permafrost.
Most of the construction will be completed in the winter when the ground is fully frozen. By doing so, we can ensure minimal disruption to the tundra. Construction work along the all-weather road will take place in the summer.
A number of industrial and governmental organizations, including the Inuvik Satellite Facility and international scientific agencies have pledged to purchase a significant amount of band-width. Northwestel will be migrating some of its current services to the fibre link, plus adding new services for local businesses and consumers. In addition, the cable will be used to introduce or expand cellular coverage along the route.