Internet outage sparks criticism over delays in Dempster fiber project – Yukon News

A Northwestel outage that interrupted Internet use in the territories and parts of British Columbia on May 12 prompted the Yukon legislature to accelerate the Dempster fiber optic line project.

“Yesterday, the Yukon telecommunications network was crippled due to an outage of a fiber line, again,” said Yukon Party MP Brad Cathers during question period.

Cathers said the Dempster fiber project was proposed in 2016 to create redundancy that would help avoid similar outages, but said the Liberal government missed several deadlines and did not start the project five years later. .

Internet service and some telephone services, including 911, were disrupted nationwide on May 12 at around 2:30 p.m. after a fiber optic line north of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, was damaged. Service was not restored by Northwestel until early in the morning.

“Without the Liberals’ mismanagement, yesterday’s telecommunications outage would have been alleviated,” he said.

The Dempster Fiber Optic Line Project is an 800 kilometer fiber optic line that will run from Dawson to Inuvik, providing a back-up communication line if the main line is disrupted.

Liberal Minister Ranj Pillai replied that the ministry had taken a cautious approach because the project was extremely complex and risked increasing costs.

He said his government had negotiated with the federal government to secure sufficient funding.

“Highways and Public Works has taken a cautious approach in this regard because, in other jurisdictions like the Northwest Territories, a fiber line of the same size as a project has doubled from $ 100 million to $ 200 million, ”he said.

Highways and Public Works Minister Nils Clarke said the new schedule estimated completion in 2024.

“Planning on our side upstream of the Dempster Highway has been comprehensive, effective and inclusive, involving engagement with three Yukon First Nations and five Indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories,” said Clarke. “We’re doing it right, and this project won’t have budget issues.”

Contact Haley Ritchie at [email protected]

Internet and telecom

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