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NWT Gov announces Fibre Optics Link feasibility study, gains support from local Chamber of Commerce


March 15, 2011
By Alyssa Dalton

March 15, 2011

The feasibility of running a fibre optics cable from the south of the
Northwest Territories to Inuvik, and eventually to Tuktoyaktuk, is being
studied by the Government of the Northwest Territories. Minister of
Finance, J. Michael Miltenberger, even described the fibre link as
“important in improving data communications for both the public and
private sector in the communities along the route.”

“The fibre link could greatly enhance program and service delivery in areas such as tele-health, on-line learning, and e-commerce, and help diversify the economy in the communities of the Beaufort-Delta and along the Mackenzie Valley,” he continued. “It is the first step in advancing the communications infrastructure needed for future economic development and modern program and service delivery.”

The thought is that a fibre optics cable to Inuvik would also encourage future development of the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, which the government boasts has been identified as a world-class location for receiving data from polar orbiting satellites pending a fibre optics connection.

The Mackenzie Valley Fibre Optics Link feasibility study will explore the potential fibre optics users; amount of use; technical feasibility of constructing the link; environmental, regulatory and permitting; governance and operational considerations for a fibre optics link; and costs and potential funding sources to install the fibre optics cable down the Mackenzie Valley.

Miltenberger’s announcement on the study has garnered a positive response from the NWT Chamber of Commerce.

“The NWT Chamber of Commerce is very happy with the Government’s plan,” said chamber president Ann Marie Tout. “Improvements to infrastructure – whether transportation, energy or communications – are critical to our economic development and sustainability, particularly in the remote communities of the Northwest Territories. We commend the government on this initiative and look forward to the results of the study.”