RCMP investigating probable vandalism as cause of latest Internet, cable TV outage

(File photo)

RCMP are investigating the latest Internet and cable TV outage in the NWT as a probable act of vandalism.

Mounties state in a news release that the fibre optic line between Yellowknife and Behchoko was somehow severed about 9:00 am Monday, affecting service in several communities including Yellowknife.

They refused to confirm a report provided anonymously to CKLB that the line was hit by a gunshot.

“Obviously someone has a bone to pick with Northwestel,” the caller said.

Police would not describe the nature of the latest damage.

Service was restored by about 5:00 pm Monday.

RCMP would like to hear from anyone who was driving on Highway 3 between Yellowknife and Behchoko at about 9:00 Monday morning, particularly if they saw anything suspicious and/or have dashcam video.

It was also an act of vandalism to the line that cause a day-long outage back on July 13.

Police are still looking for the person(s) who caused that damage as well.

At this point, Mounties say there is nothing to link the same culprit(s) to the two outages.

Andrew Anderson, a Whitehorse-based spokesperson for Northwestel released a statement just before 6:00 pm Monday.

“At approximately 9 am (MT) this morning, Northwestel experienced a fibre cut outside of Yellowknife, impacting the region’s telecommunications services.  While repairs continue, most services were restored just prior to 5 pm (MT).   Northwestel cannot comment on the specifics of the damage as the matter is under investigation by the RCMP.  We apologize to our customers for this unfortunate and senseless incident and have offered any assistance we can to the investigation.”

Police are imploring anyone with information on who is responsible for either outage to come forward.

They add the outage disrupts the comfort and safety of everyone affected.

The outage hamstrings businesses, banks and offices that rely on the Internet including the those that use debit machines which will not work when the Internet is down.

Call RCMP or Crime Stoppers if you have information that could help in the investigation.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.