Town takes technological leap
Delta community gets wired on video

by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services

INUVIK (NOV 18/96) - The Western Arctic community of Inuvik recently joined the ranks of Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Whitehorse with the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art videoconference centre.

In September, the Inuvialuit Development Corporation brought in the technology to demonstrate the benefits of face-to-face communication using video cameras connected by high-speed phone lines.

Corporation officials decided there was enough interest in the technology and plans to purchase the $100,000 system, according to president David Connelly.

Connelly said in September he realized it's a risky investment. But he said the corporation had enough faith in the technology to make the leap of faith.

However, the IDC wanted to see commitments of at least 25 hours per month from business and government agencies looking to use the system.

So far, potential customers have made 21 hours worth of monthly commitments. That level will ensure the system, while not a money-maker, at least won't be a money-loser.

Connelly said he's confident enough extra business will appear every month to make the system a financial success for the corporation.

Full-time service will be available immediately at the Inuvialuit Corporate Centre. Similar videoconference equipment is already in operation in Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Rankin Inlet. Cambridge Bay is expected to join the network early next year.

And with the technology, Inuvik businesses and government groups can talk face-to-face with 300 other videoconference centres across the North and around the world.