As the House of Commons resumed its session in Ottawa on Tuesday, MP Michael McLeod joined the proceedings virtually in front of his computer and under self-isolation in his home in Fort Providence.
But the Liberal MP said his internet connection has been pretty good since he enhanced his service with Northwestel.
“I had to get my package pumped up. I went from 5 MB to 15 MB. I got some of my programs upgraded. Things are working pretty good now,” he said on Tuesday morning.
About a week and a half ago, McLeod said his bandwidth only allowed him to join Zoom conference calls by audio, as CBC reported.
The availability of fast, reliable internet in the NWT is becoming an increasingly critical issue as communities, businesses and education authorities realize its necessity for further development.
But many communities in the territory have lagged behind Yellowknife in being connected to the internet.
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Yellowknife-based IT company Global Storm last week announced the launch of a notebook computer donation project to provide the devices for students in the communities so they’re prepared for the shift to online education after schools closed down in March.
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The notebooks are one aspect of Global Storm’s larger Northern Remote Learning Plan to provide internet service to all communities in the territory.
“I think everyone would like to go up to the standards and targets of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) but for the most part people are living with what they got and are trying to improve,” said McLeod.
“I’m very aware at how slow it is in some communities. We’ve made some strong commitments to improve access and speed and that includes for all communities in the North for high speed internet access.”
Northerners aren’t necessarily ready to wait for officials to introduce better internet services, 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.