New 777 km fibre run will close northern loop

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WHITEHORSE – The federal government, Yukon government and Northwestel announced today they will together spend $79 million to build a 777 km fibre line from Dawson City, YT, to Inuvik, NWT.

The project, says today’s press release, will also benefit 63 Indigenous communities, in Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia. Funding was announced today by Innovation, Science and Economic Development minister Navdeep Bains, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, and Ranj Pillai, Yukon minister of economic development.

This new fibre run will also help close the 4,000-kilometre-long Canada North Fibre Loop to ensure a more robust Internet service in northern communities, adds the release. Currently, without a loop, any fibre trunk cut in the north essentially cuts communities off until its repaired. Internet service, ATM machines, retail stores, everything loses connectivity when the backbone is damaged. With a loop, traffic can now flow the other way when something happens at one point in the trunk.

This is how the funding is being split:

• ISED is investing up to $30 million through Connect to Innovate, the federal program that helps connect rural regions.

• Infrastructure Canada will invest up to $29 million through the Small Communities Fund.

• The Government of Yukon will invest up to $5 million.

• Northwestel will invest up to $15 million.

The release did not specify when the build will begin, but an ISED official says construction is set to begin in 2020.

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