Flights have been cancelled, bank machines are inoperable, and mobile phones do not work – all due to the sun. Almost forty communities in the three provinces of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have completely lost communications due to a satellite that has pointed directly into the sun. Now, far be it from me to begrudge anyone or anything its moment in the sun, but this is a real problem for those people living in the region.
With a population of about 34,000 the Yukon, the westernmost and smallest of Canada’s three federal territories, shares a border with Alaska. Its largest town, Whitehorse, has a population of about 20,000. The Northwest Territories, with a population of around 43,000, is Canada’s third largest province by area and its capital, Yellowknife, has a population of 19,000. Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories in 1999, is both the least populous and the largest in geography of the provinces and territories of Canada. One of the most remote, sparsely settled regions in the world, it has a population of approximately 33,000, spread over an area the size of Western Europe. It is claimed that Nunavut is also home to the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. Nunavut includes most of Canada’s arctic islands, such as Baffin Island, the fifth largest island in the world. Iqaluit, its largest municipality, has a population of approximately 7,000.
Telesat Canada, fourth-largest fixed satellite services provider in the world, said that the satellite suffered from a technical anomaly due to its position vis a vis the sun and that began early on Thursday morning. The company claims to have regained control over the satellite and is expecting service to soon return to normal.
Until then, don’t expect to hear from your friends in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.