Northwestel reports that technicians have begun working on fibre optic lines damaged by the NWT wildfire along Highway 1, but customers further North along the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link will have to wait until conditions improve.

An update was posted to their Facebook page at 1 p.m. Aug. 17.

“Technicians have now accessed impacted sites along Highway 1 in southern NWT and begun repair work,” says the notice. ” The fibre line is damaged in multiple areas and we expect it will take at least 24 hours or more to begin to restore service to South Slave communities. We are coordinating all work with NWT Fire to ensure technicians remain safe.

“Due to continued wildfire activity, we have not yet been able to access the damaged fibre assets along the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link. Service to the Beaufort Delta region remains available but congested. We have been able to augment capacity using OneWeb Low Earth Orbit technology.”

Northwestel said it was also working to evacuate its 120 employees situated in Yellowknife and was establishing a backup control centre. The post did not state where the control centre would be located.

“We want to thank all those working hard to fight these wildfires, assist in the safe evacuation and maintain and restore communications in this critical period.”

The following communities remain without service:


Fort Resolution

Fort Smith

Hay River

Jean-Marie River


High Level, Alberta

The following communities have “congested” service:





Fort McPherson

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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