Redundancy, at last.

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation has reached an agreement with Northern Canada’s largest telecommunications provider to install a new fibre optic line through Great Slave Lake.

Det’on Cho Management LP, which is wholly owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, said Nov. 25 it had reached an agreement with Northwestel on the project, which will improve fibre optic reliability and reduce service disruptions for nine Great Slave communities.

The Det’on Cho corporation, whose mandate is to connect businesses and workers in the community with employment and business opportunities, will own the line, but Northwestel will manage and pay for the line’s maintenance, operation and repair for 20 years.

Det’on Cho COO John Henderson said the project would reduce the inequality faced by Northern communities when it comes to internet access. “The more important internet access has become in people’s lives, the more important it is that access be extremely reliable,” he said. “Our communities have benefitted from Northwestel’s investment in fibre, and now we have the opportunity to close a gap that has the potential to cause a crisis in our communities.”

Although both parties will contribute financially to the project, they will also seek public funds to finance the line. It was not immediately announced how much the project would cost.

The nine communities that will benefit from the project are Fort Smith, Fort Resolution, Hay River, Fort Providence, Behchoko, Whati, Dettah, Ndilo and Yellowknife. A timeline for the project was not immediately announced.

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