Hay River will soon experience the North’s fastest residential internet speeds as Northwestel kicks off its Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) project.

Residents in single-dwelling homes in Hay River can now submit an online request for internet speeds of up to 250 Mbps, 16 times faster than previously available and with twice as much monthly usage, Northwestel said in a news release on Monday.

The company is unrolling three special procedures in the South Slave town to ensure safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Northwestel’s fibre optic cable installation project has been ongoing in Hay River since 2019.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Customers can request the FTTH installation online to minimize congestion at the company’s Northern call centres; Northwestel will limit the number of installations per week to give enough time for technicians to follow proper health procedures in customers’ homes; and only single dwelling homes will be included in the first phase of the project because structures like apartments and businesses require more elaborate installations.

“I am thrilled to introduce Northwestel’s new Fibre Internet service to Hay River. We appreciate the community’s patience with the extra measures we have put in place to complete installation during this special time,” said Northwestel President Curtis Shaw. “I want to recognize our northern employees for their tireless efforts to make Hay River the first Fibre-to-the-Home community North of 60.”

The start of the FTTH project in Hay River will bring residents the same internet speeds and rates currently available in Yellowknife, said Northwestel spokesperson Andrew Anderson.

“The infrastructure we use in Yellowknife, Hybrid-fibre-coax (HFC), is already capable of delivering these speeds to customers,” he said.

The company started the FTTH project last year when it started installing the fibre network in Hay River to prepare more than 90 per cent of homes there for fibre connections.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of reliable internet access for Northerners, and in March Dene artist Melaw Nakehk’o launched a Change.org petition urging Northwestel to waive data overage fees and establish unlimited data plans until July.

RELATED REPORTING: Internet access a necessity, says petition aimed at Northwestel

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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