Online in Hall Beach
New service a blessing

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

HALL BEACH (Oct 04/99) - The world -- at least from Zillah Piallaq's perspective in Hall Beach -- just got a lot smaller, a lot closer and a whole lot cheaper.

All because Bryan Martin hung out a shingle, installed 10 lines and became an Internet service provider.

Dubbed Sanirayak Internet Services, the new company allows Hall Beach residents to have access to the Internet minus the expensive long distance costs formerly attached to the service.

As far as Pialluq is concerned, that's great news.

"I've been shopping for better products and better prices," she said, online at home for the last month and connected in her hamlet office for the last week.

Along with surfing the Net and using it as an educational tool for herself and her children, Pialluq said she's also been busy making the most of her new-found economic and electronic freedom.

"I've been buying stuff. They offer better prices on special through the Internet than you can get in catalogues."

The new service has also improved the way business gets done in the hamlet. Instead of accepting lengthy delays imposed by mail, Pialluq said documents requiring approval have been zipping back and forth between Hall Beach and Iqaluit via the Internet.

"We don't seem so rural any more. It's improving the way we work and opening up the access," said Pialluq, already dreaming of the day when all of Nunavut's communities will be online.

Martin, in true entrepreneurial spirit, also has a vision of that day and is hard at work trying to bring it to fruition. Opening officially on June 15 after a year of research and double-checking was completed, he said he currently had about 25 local users on the books, many of whom had signed up in the past few weeks.

"It seems to be going up daily. In the last couple of weeks, we've added about five users a week. It's growing fast and going very well, much better than I had anticipated," said Martin, noting that at present, he had the capacity to serve up to 100 clients and had plenty of room to expand.

Charging a monthly $95 fee for local dial-up, he said he also had the ability to offer nearby hamlets, who would have to pay their own long distance charges, a discounted service of $40 a month.

While he's working to bring down those monthly costs in order to be able to provide a service accessible to more people, Martin said he was also working with other hamlets -- including Coral Harbour, Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Iglulik -- to bring the technology to the local level so they could provide cheaper service for their own residents.

His end goal? To bring Nunavummiut into closer contact with one another using a fast, affordable means of communication that also puts food into his own mouth.

"My current goal is to reduce the charges to the customer. I want a cost effective service that everybody can utilize and I'm looking forward to the day when I break even so I'm no longer taking money out of my own pocket."

For more information, contact Martin on his Web site at