For the first time in Canada, the majority of a province or territory’s in-community fibre assets are now Indigenous-owned.
Northern Canada’s telecommunications provider Northwestel announced today the sale of its Yukon fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) assets to a group of 13 Yukon First Nation development corporations.
Northwestel is the largest telecommunications provider in the north of Canada, and serves 96 communities across Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, and Alberta.
This partnership, named the Shared Pathways Network, will see Northwestel making regular payments for the fibre network’s full use for two decades. This will guarantee direct economic success to participating Indigenous communities in Yukon for decades.
We’re excited to announce our new ground-breaking partnership, the Shared Pathways network.
First in Canada. Community fibre assets that connect thousands of homes and businesses across the Yukon are now Indigenous owned.https://t.co/xf5jfIsQdr pic.twitter.com/lhK7Wryl7i
— Northwestel (@northwestel) May 5, 2022
Northwestel will operate and maintain the network at its own expense for that period.
The fibre assets that make up the Shared Pathways network are those being built as part of Northwestel’s Every Community Project. The Every Community Project, funded by the CRTC Broadband Fund and Northwestel’s own significant investments, is a three-year plan to bring high-speed unlimited Internet to every community in the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
Fibre service with home internet speeds of 300 Mbps has already launched in the Yukon communities of Dawson City, Teslin, Watson Lake, and Fort Liard, with the remaining communities coming online in 2022 and into 2023.
“We’re showing that by working cooperatively, First Nations can make these types of major investments and create more opportunities for investment and ownership in infrastructure and communications projects that impact the lives of our citizens,” said Fred Koe, Da Daghay Development Corporation Chair and designated spokesperson for the newly formed Yukon First Nations Telco LP.
Northwestel has had successful partnerships with Indigenous governments and development corporations. Its most recent includes the partnership with the Tlicho government in the Northwest Territories that will see Northwestel build and operate a Tlicho-owned fibre-line to Whati, NWT.
“We believe stronger connections build stronger communities. This partnership gives Northwestel the ability to invest more upfront in northern network improvements, but more importantly it strengthens our ties over the long run to the communities we exist to serve. Yukon’s Shared Pathways network is a testament to our joint commitment to walking the path of reconciliation together, for many years to come,” said Northwestel President Curtis Shaw.
The 13 participating First Nations development corporations are Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation (C/TMC), Carmacks Development Corporation, Chief Isaac Group of Companies, Chu Niikwan Development Corporation/Chu Níikwän Limited Partnership, Copper Nïïsüü Limited Partnership, Da Daghay Development Corporation (DDDC), Dena Nezziddi Development Corporation, First Kaska, Kluane Dana Shaw Corporation (KDSC), Na-Cho Nyak Dun Development Corporation, Selkirk Development Corporation, Vuntut Gwitchin LP/ Vuntut Gwitchin Trust.