Construction of the Dempster Fibre Link has reached Inuvik from Yukon.

Workers began laying the wiring last week.

“As part of the Dempster Line Project, the construction of the line has began in Inuvik last Friday,” said Charlotte Verriere, the town’s new director of economic development and tourism, on Sept. 20. “A development permit has been granted for the installation of a new fibre optic cable along Centennial Street, Wolverine Road and Reliance Street.”

When it’s done, Inuvik will not be solely reliant on the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link for high-speed internet.

Much of the Beaufort Delta spent the last month operating on slow to no internet after wildfires damaged the Mackenzie Fibre Link near Fort Good Hope. Dangerous conditions kept workers from accessing the line to do repairs.

“The great news is that once our fibre line reaches Inuvik, it will seamlessly integrate with the existing Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link, establishing a robust 4,000-kilometer network,” stated a press release from Yukon government. “This ensures a backup line during disruptions, leading to more reliable internet and cellphone services for all.

“This project is made possible through partnerships with Yukon Highway and Public Works and ROHL Global Networks, alongside collaboration with the public, private sector, NWT Indigenous groups and Yukon First Nations.”

Cable is being laid along the right-of-way parallel to the Klondike and Dempster highways. Most of the cables are buried, but terrain conditions may require the cables to be held up by power poles in some areas. The line is attached to bridges at water crossings. Existing terminals in Dawson City and Inuvik will connect to the fibre line when completed. Network operations will be controlled from Yellowknife.

Running 800 kilometres, the new fibre line will stretch the Northern fibre network to over 4,000 kilometres in total. Construction of the entire project is expected to be completed in November 2024.

Eric Bowling

Breaking News Reporter and Digital Editor for NNSL, Eric operates out of Inuvik in the Beaufort Delta. He's four years into his Northern adventure and is eager to learn more about life in the Arctic Circle....

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