Oct 6 survey paper-FINAL - Qfile

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					 Nunavut’s Octobe r 6 Disconnection
The Impact of the Anik F2 satellite failure on Nunavut
                             NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                      THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT


Table of Contents

1.	
   Introduction ...................................................................................... 2	
  
2.	
   Survey Findings .................................................................................. 3	
  
  2.1	
   Impact on productivity................................................................................ 5	
  
  2.2	
   Impact on retail transactions ........................................................................ 8	
  
  2.3	
   Impact on travel ....................................................................................... 9	
  
  2.4	
   Impact on personal life .............................................................................. 10	
  
3.	
   Lessons Learned ............................................................................... 11	
  




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                         NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                    THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT




     1. Introduction
     On October 6, 2011 Telesat’s Anik F2 satellite, which provides services across North
America, malfunctioned, resulting in a loss of satellite services for approximately 16
hours. While the failure was an inconvenience for customers in other parts of Canada
(causing, for example, limited access to certain satellite television channels), the one
day outage had far-reaching impacts in Nunavut: internet, cellular and long distance
telephone services were unavailable; banks were closed, ATMs were not working, and
stores operated on a cash-only basis; and flights were grounded. (Satellite-served
communities across the North faced similar issues however only the impact on Nunavut
is being examined).

     Thankfully Telesat was able to resolve the problem and restore full service within a
day. However, the outage illustrated the vulnerability of Nunavut’s communication
infrastructure and the consequences of its failure on government services, business and
private life.

     The one day outage provided an opportunity to examine the impact of an almost
total failure of Nunavut’s communications infrastructure. The Nunavut Broadband
Development Corporation conducted an online survey to collect qualitative and
quantitative data that can accurately reflect the impact of the outage from users of
communications service while the event was fresh in people’s minds.


     2. Survey Findings
     The online survey was completed by 182 participants on a voluntary basis between
November 7 and November 20, 2011. 39% of the respondents normally reside in
Iqaluit, 59% reside in other communities in Nunavut and the remaining 2% reside
outside Nunavut. During the outage, 88% of respondents were in Nunavut while 12%
were outside of Nunavut. The table below summarizes the services lost by the
respondents on October 6. The most affected services were:

 •   Internet access (86% lost access in their community, 10% lost access from outside
     Nunavut)
 •   Long distance phone service (87% lost access in their community, 9% lost access
     from outside Nunavut)
 •   Real-time payment processing (87% lost access in their community, 3% lost access
     from outside Nunavut)
 •   Local cell phone, if normally available (59% lost access in their community, 5% lost
     access from outside Nunavut)

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     NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT



  Table 1: Communication services lost on October 6th




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                           NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                   THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT


         2.1 Impact on productivity
   Not surprisingly, the almost total loss of communication services had an impact on
worker productivity, with almost 90% of the respondents saying their productivity was
adversely affected: 51% were really unproductive and 38% were less productive than
usual.

                     Table 2: Impact of losing communication services on productivity




   Internet access was cited
as the most used                         “Much of my work involves communication with other
communication service in a          communities, so it was incredibly difficult to get anything
normal work day in                  done. As well, everyone was on edge about feeling cut off
                                    from the world, so it was a pretty gloomy place to be.”
Nunavut (62% use it all
day, 29% use it 2-7 hours                “We could not do any accounting, pay any bills, etc, but
                                    we were able to do everything else. I really was not too bad
a day) and identified as
                                    for one day. But, if it had happened on 'payday" or for two
extremely important (67%)           days in a row, it really would have created huge problems for
or really important (19%)           our organization.”
for work. The tables below               “It created more work – dealing with the communication
summarize the services              crisis locally, ensuring the most up-to-date information was
used in a normal work day           circulated. It became a task unto itself: ensuring payroll could
                                    be processed (by cheque, cashable at local stores),
(Table 3) and the services
                                    communicating with banks, colleagues, neighbours.”
respondents identified as
                                         “As a business owner it was very hard, could not use the
required for work (Table 4).
                                    telephone or fax service, also could not do any online orders.
   Several respondents              I could not connect at all to the outside communities and
commented that they were            southern Canada.”

relieved the outage did not              “I was unable to communicate with coworkers via email
occur on a payday.                  or to access resources online. As a result, I was unable to
                                    work on most of my project files. The outage led to some
                                    office tidying, but since this is kept up on a regular basis,
                                    there was a distinct lack of work that could be accomplished.”



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       NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
 THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT



Table 3: Use of communication services in a normal work day in Nunavut




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     NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT




              Table 4: Service(s) required for work




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                        NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                   THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT



       2.2 Impact on retail transactions
    Real time payment processing
services were affected during the                     “I do not use cash for many things, debit or
satellite outage. As a result, most             credit is used. I had no cash on hand for that day
banks were closed, ATMs were offline            and had not done any grocery shopping for my
                                                home, my family had to get food from other
and retailers, if open, were operating
                                                family members since there was no debit
on cash only. Because the outage was            available at the stores. Although I had a cheque
only one day, the most common                   to cash, there was nowhere available to do so.”
reaction was to delay purchases until                 “Cash only for one day was fine - however
services were restored. Some                    it would have been a major problem if the
respondents made purchases in cash,             services were down for longer. We just did no
                                                purchasing that day.”
notably food (21%), and others
cancelled purchases outright, notably                 “A cash-only economy is a bit of a
                                                misnomer. When bank clients cannot take cash
food (12%) and online purchases of
                                                out of the bank, regardless of what their account
any kind (12%). The table below
                                                balance may be, due to a communications failure
summarizes the retail and purchasing            it is not a cash-only economy for all. For many it
decisions made on October 6 as a                was a total economy freeze.”
result of the Anik F2 outage.


                                Table 5: Retail and purchasing decisions




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                         NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                   THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT


       2.3 Impact on tr avel
    The Anik F2 outage interfered with weather                       “If there had been a medical
                                                                emergency which the Health
reporting and NavCanada communications. As a
                                                                Center is not equipped to handle,
result, all flights into and out of Nunavut were
                                                                it could have meant someone's
grounded.                                                       death.”

    For those respondents travelling, most incurred a                “I was scheduled to fly the
1 or 2 day delay although some indicated that travel            next day, so the fact that flights
                                                                were grounded was troubling.
was cancelled altogether. Table 6 below summarizes
                                                                Once I knew that I got more
the impact on travel.                                           concerned about the longer-term
                                                                impacts of the outage including
    While the one day outage and the resulting delays
                                                                potential food shortages etc”
in travel were largely an inconvenience, several
respondents were concerned about the implications on
medical travel (emergency or otherwise). As well, respondents commented that a
prolonged outage with no air transportation would impact the availability of fresh food in
the community.



                                    Table 6: Impact on travel




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                          NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                    THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT



       2.4 Impact on person al life
    When asked how the
outage affected their                     “I felt very isolated and I worried what would happen if
personal life, respondents            there was an emergency.”
frequently cited that they                 “It made me realize just how isolated we are in Nunavut.
felt isolated and concerned           The inability to reach my family was very concerning. The

about not being able to               inability to use the technologies which have become an
                                      important part of our daily lives was frightening. Not being
communicate with family
                                      able to access my money due to a simple software glitch made
members. Several                      me realize just how we are at the mercy of technology.”
respondents commented
                                          “Many of my family members live in other communities
that the fact that there was          and even other countries, so I was unable to communicate
little information available to       with them. Long-term, this would be incredibly isolating, and
them as to what was                   would probably lead me to move out of my community to be
                                      closer to my family.”
happening and how long it
would last made the situation
all the more stressful.


                   Table 7: Limited telecommunication access and perception of emergency




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                         NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                   THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT


    Respondents also commented that had
the outage lasted longer, it would have                    “Communication is vital everyday. We can

been more worrisome. Indeed, when                     tolerate 1 day without communication. But,
                                                      more than 1 day will have a huge impact in our
asked specifically what length of outage
                                                      family ties.”
would cause an emergency situation in
                                                           “If planes could not come in then food
their community, 90% of respondents
                                                      supply would be worrisome.”
said that a week long outage would be
                                                           “Somewhat annoyed but otherwise it was
seen as an emergency. Table 7 above
                                                      just an inconvenience for the day. If it had
summarizes the responses. Of particular               gone longer I think there could have been
concern was the impact of on air travel               more problems. I think it was also a wake up
and resulting implication for emergency               call for government as to how vulnerable the
                                                      north is and how easy it is to take it offline.”
medical travel and the availability of food
and other supplies in the community.


   3. Lessons Learned
    Nunavut is entirely satellite served for
both voice and data. While there might be                  “Outside of being extremely cautious
multiple service providers (as is the case            about ensuring I have a steady supply of
for internet services in some                         cash on hand, there is nothing I can do.
                                                      There is maybe two service providers for
communities), the vast majority of voice
                                                      phone and internet in Nunavut but they are
and internet traffic into and out of                  both on the one system and when one
Nunavut use the Anik F2 satellite. As                 crashes so does the other.”
such, the October 6, 2011 Anik F2 outage                   “What can you do when all the service
knocked out most telecommunication                    providers rely on this one satellite that went
services in Nunavut for a period of 16                down?”

hours.                                                     “In my opinion, this is a government
                                                      responsibility (i.e. individuals should not
    While Anik F2 can boast an average                need to secure back-up communications
annual uptime of over 99% and while the               themselves).”
satellite was fully operational within 16                  “Unfortunately all of these alternate
hours, the October 6th outage                         measures are too costly. It is really up to
demonstrated the fragility of Nunavut’s               the government and telecom companies to
telecommunication infrastructure, the                 ensure this situation doesn't happen again
                                                      by for example having a back-up satellite.”
immediate consequences of limited
telecommunications access and the                          “Satellite phones are out of my price
                                                      range, as is back up internet service. There
possible consequences of a prolonged
                                                      is literally nothing I can afford to do to that
outage.                                               will allow me to stay in touch in the case of
                                                      any similar outage.”



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                         NUNAVUT’S OCTOBER 6 DISCONNECTION
                   THE IMPACT OF THE ANIK F2 SATELLITE FAILURE ON NUNAVUT


    The outage demonstrated that telecommunication infrastructure is essential
infrastructure: reliable Internet access is not a luxury but a necessity for work, for public
safely, and for quality of life. The outage clearly demonstrated that, without
redundancy, Nunavut’s communication infrastructure is at risk. Fortunately the problem
was resolved within 16 hours. However, had the outage lasted longer, few options would
have been available for a speedy restoration of services in all communities. For
example, in order to direct traffic to another satellite, the dish(es) in each community
would need to be repointed by a technician, who would need to travel in from outside
the community. Given that commercial planes were grounded without accurate and
current weather information, the availability of air travel alone would have added to the
delay.

    The October 6 event was an outage affecting the upstream provision of satellite
capacity to the territory’s major service providers. Nunavut’s situation is doubly
precarious: not only are most services suing one satellite, but in most communities
there is only one voice provider and one internet service provider. Any failure of a
service provider’s infrastructure within a community could wipe out all such services in
the community. Therefore redundancy and diversity at both levels - upstream
connectivity and last mile service provider- should be key goals of future
telecommunication infrastructure investments in Nunavut.




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