Xplornet customers in the Yukon will keep their internet service for longer than expected, but they'll still need to switch to a new provider after September of next year.
On Thursday, Yukon Liberal MP Brendan Hanley announced an agreement had been reached between the territorial and federal governments and Xplornet that would see an extension to the internet provider's services until 2023.
It's the second time the service's end date has been pushed back.
In 2020, Xplornet first announced it would end internet service in December of that year. Negotiations between the territorial and federal governments and the service provider led to an initial extension until December 2022.
Hanley said this second extension will most likely be the last.
"Starlink is coming," Hanley said. "It's actually now in orbit, but we know that there's this interim period where after December some of the users, especially in [the] Dawson area, and some of the Northern areas have been facing potential loss of connectivity until the new system is up and running."
Starlink satellite internet is operated by Elon Musk's spacecraft and rocket launch company, SpaceX.
It promises to bring faster speeds and unlimited data directly to users in rural and remote areas at monthly prices comparable to some existing internet packages in the territories.
Once Sept. 30, 2023, comes around Yukoners who were previously using Xplornet will have to switch to a new provider.
A connection keeps the connection
Neil Fletcher lives 70 kilometres north of Dawson City in a cabin beside the Yukon River.
He said if he were to lose his internet provider next month, he would be 'screwed.'
"I run my own business," Fletcher said. "I work as a management consultant and I work from home. It's wonderful to be able to work from a log cabin and contribute to the Yukon's economy."
Fletcher said he is grateful for the extension and to those who worked to make it happen.
"We all run our lives on the internet now. Banking, I look at the news. We're originally from the U.K. and I still have elderly relatives in the U.K. At the moment, [they] can keep in contact but if we lose our internet connection we're cut off from the world."
A press release from the Yukon government suggested residents who wish to switch to Starlink get that process started "as soon as possible."