Another damaged cable, another service failure

Thousands of people in the Yukon and northern British Columbia lost communications and cable television services on Wednesday after a crucial fiber optic cable was damaged during the construction of a road north of Fort Nelson, British Columbia.

Through Whitehorse Star at May 13, 2021

Thousands of people in the Yukon and northern British Columbia lost communications and cable television services on Wednesday after a crucial fiber optic cable was damaged during the construction of a road north of Fort Nelson, British Columbia.

The damage occurred around 2:30 p.m. and the disruption to customers lasted 11 hours in some areas.

Among the disrupted services were the Internet and long distance telephone and television services.

With the 911 emergency number out of service for much of the Wednesday afternoon and evening, residents were advised to call the RCMP in case of an emergency.

Emergency Medical Services have staffed places like the Canada Games Center and Carcross Cutoff as a precaution.

Limited cellular service remained available during service outages.

Long distance telephone service has also been affected in the NWT. And in Nunavut, as does Internet service in Ulukhaktok, NWT.

Northwestel Inc. technicians drove from Whitehorse to the affected area on Wednesday afternoon. They were able to make repairs and re-establish the connection early this morning.

“We continue to work to test our systems and make sure all services are restored,” Northwestel said.

“We thank our customers for their patience over the past few hours.”

The Government of Yukon is pursuing a project to install a fiber optic cable along the Dempster Highway in the NWT. To act as another source of service whenever construction activity – often in British Columbia – damages the cable the Yukon currently relies on. It is expected to be completed by 2023.

Damage to the Yukon’s vital cable during construction projects and the resulting lengthy service outages has occurred repeatedly in recent years.


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