New $11M fibre line to connect Whatì to high-speed internet

·2 min read
A file photo of internet connections. Funding from three levels of government and Canada's northern development agency will support the installation of a new fibre optic line to Whati. (iStock - image credit)
A file photo of internet connections. Funding from three levels of government and Canada's northern development agency will support the installation of a new fibre optic line to Whati. (iStock - image credit)

The federal, N.W.T. and Tłı̨chǫ governments will invest nearly $11 million in improved broadband internet access for the community of Whatì, officials announced Thursday.

The investment should provide high-speed internet access to as many as 152 houses in the community of 470, a release sent Thursday reads.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections," the release reads. "Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home."

Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal announced the funding Thursday alongside Whatì Chief Alfonz Nitsiza. N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod and N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek were also in attendance.

"This project is a great example of the very positive things that can happen when the Tłı̨chǫ Government works closely with our partners," Nitsiza is quoted as saying in the release.

The federal government is providing $5 million toward the project from its $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund's "Rapid Response Stream", a $150-million funding scheme "for projects that can be started and completed quickly."

"The project being announced today was approved within six months of the formal launch of the program," the release notes.

A further $3 million is coming from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. The remaining $2.9 million is more or less evenly split between the Tłı̨chǫ and territorial government.

The funding will be spent on constructing a fibre optic cable that connects with the N.W.T.'s main fibre line to the south.

"For those of us living in smaller northern communities, we know first hand the struggle too many Canadians face when it comes to accessing reliable internet service," McLeod is quoted as saying in the release. "My congratulations to the Tłı̨chǫ government on its successful application."