CRTC announces $72M in broadband internet improvements for the North

The new standard of internet speed will be 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload with unlimited data to support 26% of the households in the Yukon and NWT.

A dish atop a Northwestel facility in Yellowknife. (CKLB file photo.)

Northwestel’s commitment to northern communities includes a stronger, faster more reliable internet connection at lower price points.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced $72M in broadband funding for five projects through the CRTC fund.

Northwestel will be receiving roughly $62M dollars to service northern communities.

This investment will improve broadband internet services in over 10,100 households in 51 communities across the N.W.T., Yukon, and northern Manitoba, a majority of which are Indigenous and satellite dependant.

“Fibre in the home is a proven technology, that has been used in places like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. I’m really excited to bring it to places like Dettah and Fort Simpson,” says Curtis Shaw, president of Northwestel.

Prior to receiving funding, recipients must complete a project plan, setting out the details of each project, including schedules and costs, which must be approved by the CRTC.

“We should be starting construction sometime early spring 2021 and are currently working on our engineering plan for the next 120 days,” says Shaw.

Internet prices will be comparable to most major urban centre’s like Whitehorse and Yellowknife, says Shaw and will stay unchanged for five years.

“Our goal is to provide the best possible broadband experience at lower prices for all northern residents,” says Shaw.

“Most of the work is fibre in the home deployments, it means removing the copper phone lines in communities and putting a fibre optic drop line in the home,” he adds.

There will be a total of 316 km of new fibre installed to connect many communities in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, as stated in a press release.

“We recognize, however, that too many regions across the country are still underserved,” says Ian Scott, chairperson, and ceo for the CRTC.

Northwestel Inc.’s Northwest Territories satellite and fibre project will collectively receive nearly $20M in funding to support 26 communities in over 4,000 households – offering speeds up to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload with access to unlimited data.

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. On her spare time, you can find her at your local coffee shop writing songs, poetry and prose or at the gym out-lifting men. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at or call 867-766-2552 Ext 108