Cable & Telecom

Federal, territorial governments to spend $11 million to connect 152 homes


OTTAWA – Never let it be said connecting Canadians living in remote regions is inexpensive.

While there have been myriad announcements of late from various levels of governments, all spending millions on rural broadband, today’s has to be the most expensive from a per household standpoint as four levels of government have gotten together to invest nearly $11 million to connect 152 households in Whatì in the North Slave region of the Northwest Territories with fibre broadband. That’s almost $72,000 per household.

Funding is being provided as follows:

  • $5 million from the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund
  • $3 million from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • $1.5 million from the Tłı̨chǫ Government
  • $1.4 million from the Government of the Northwest Territories

While the $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched on November 9, 2020, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) supports the territories through various economic development programming and also makes infrastructure investments to “help position Northerners and Indigenous peoples across the territories to move toward self-reliance,” reads the release.

“CanNor is supporting this Tłı̨chǫ Government project by helping to fund costs for the engineering, construction and commissioning of the fibre optic cable that will connect the residents of Whatì,” it continues.

No network builder or operator was identified in the announcement but in a follow up, the federal department confirmed the local government will control the buildout.

“This project is a great example of the very positive things that can happen when the Tłı̨chǫ Government works closely with our partners in the federal government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, Northwestel and our own Tłı̨chǫ Business Arm to make projects like this Whatì Fibre Optic Project a reality for the Tłı̨chǫ People,” said chief Alfonz Nitsiza in the press release.

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