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Governments invest in northern broadband infrastructure

By ReNew Canada 09:42AM June 21, 2018

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The Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon, and Northwestel are investing up to $79 million to improve broadband connectivity in northern Canada. The project will benefit communities, including 63 Indigenous communities, in Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia.

“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s essential,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation, and Economic Development. “High-speed Internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of where they live. Our communities need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities.”

Funding will be used to build a 777-kilometre-long fibre network between Dawson City, Yukon, and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This new fibre network line will also help close the 4,000-kilometre-long Canada North Fibre Loop to ensure a more robust Internet service in northern communities. Currently, a cut to the existing fibre network can affect Internet service to hospitals and debit and credit machines in retail stores. Construction of this new line will significantly reduce the risk of Internet service interruptions throughout this vast region.

“Reliable telecommunications are vital to diversifying our economy and will help Yukoners and northern residents participate fully in the digital economy,” said Ranj Pillai, Yukon Minister of Economic Development. “Stable Internet can also attract increased investment in the territory, creating jobs and other opportunities. Most of all, dependable high-speed Internet can open up new economic and social possibilities for Yukoners and support healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities.”

The following partners will provide funding for the project:

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is investing up to $30 million through Connect to Innovate, a federal program that helps provide Canadians in rural and remote regions of the country with Internet access, allowing them to participate fully in the digital economy.
  • 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 4,000-kilometere-long Canada North Fibre Loop that will be closed through this project is equivalent to the distance between Québec and Calgary.

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