ORION’s Belt: Issue 4

Your guide star to innovation


Canada Has ‘No Plan’ to Bring Broadband to Rural and Remote Communities, Watchdog Says

30% of Northern Ontario communities don't have basic 5Mbps internet accessIn a report presented to Parliament on November 20th, Canada’s Auditor General said that Canada has “no plan” to connect remote Northern communities with high speed internet service. The report also reveals that some programs implemented by the government are not being properly administered, incumbent telcos are not incentivized to share their licenses with smaller players and that broadband spectrum auctions have favoured large industry players by allowing the winners to only focus on urban centres.

Calgary firm invests $4.9 million to install 40 km of optical fibre throughout B.C.’s Haida Gwaii region

Calgary-based telecom firm Canadian Fiber Optics (CFO) has announced plans to invest $4.9 million CAD to install 40 kilometres of optical fibre throughout British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii region. This network will support about 630 homes and 39 institutions throughout the region. Approximately 12 kilometres of CFO’s network will exist as a subsea installation to connect the region’s two main islands. CFO has partnered with local family-run telco Gwaii Communications who will own and operate the network, to be completed by Spring 2019. The new infrastructure will greatly improve residents’ access to digital services; they currently have very limited and expensive options for connectivity.

It’s an initiative that follows the recommendations from our recently-released report, “Connecting Northern Ontario’s Research and Education Community.“

U.S. National Academies issue skeptical report on Quantum Computing’s prospects

On Dec 4th, a committee of 13 experts from the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a 205-page report which concluded that quantum computers will not become practical or commercially viable within the next 10 years.

Quantum sound waves open the door to more powerful sensors

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have built a tiny ‘echo chamber’ for sound waves that can be controlled at the quantum level by connecting it to quantum circuits. This breakthrough could result in new quantum sensors, communication across any distance, and quantum technology memory.

Millimetre waves for the last mile

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a modulator with which data transmitted via millimetre waves can be directly converted into light pulses for optical fibres. This technology could make covering the ‘last mile’ to home and businesses much faster and cheaper by avoiding the need to install optical fibre.