The Digital Divide
In 2016, the Government of Canada declared access to broadband internet a fundamental right for all citizens. Despite this declaration, roughly 18% of the population in Canada has limited connectivity and many communities are entirely without cellular access. This is particularly true in Rigolet and Inuit Nunangat more broadly, where bandwidth is limited, internet connection is at times sporadic, competition between Internet service providers is scarce, and investment in infrastructure is currently lacking. These limitations mean that Northern communities are not granted equal access to online resources, are excluded from contributing to and competing in the Canadian economy in an equitable manner and are not provided an equal voice that is essential for active participation in a democratic society. At a local level, this also means that communities have fewer tools at their disposal for establishing effective communications pathways. This affects the ability of Inuit to easily collect and disseminate information necessary to achieve and maintain self-government and sovereignty, manage and mitigate safety challenges and public health risks, and understand and promote community vitality and wellness.
The eNuk app presents incredible opportunities to share timely, community-collected information about environmental changes; however, internet connectivity is poor in Rigolet, and cellular access does not exist. To address these challenges, the eNuk Team has partnered with RightMesh, a B Corporation dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, to develop and use innovative technologies for transmitting data and other information in the absence of internet and cellular connection. Together, the eNuk and RightMesh teams are developing and using ‘mesh’ technology, involving the creation of a local area network that uses electronic devices as nodes to link the community from device-to-device for information-sharing and communication.