Northwestel Inc. officials are remaining very tight-lipped over Wednesday’s massive Internet failure that left customers all over the Yukon without service for most of the day and evening.
Parts of northern B.C. and the N.W.T. were also affected.
Andrew Anderson, a spokesperson for the company, told the Star this morning, “Yesterday at approximately 8:30 a.m. YT, a fibre optic cable along the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. was damaged by significant land erosion, causing a disruption to Internet services to Yukon and northern B.C. Some individual customers in the N.W.T. were also impacted.
“Phone and cellular service remained operational throughout the day. Northwestel technicians travelled to the site and were able to repair the fibre cable and restore Internet service at approximately 8:30 pm YT.”
On Twitter Wednesday evening, a similar statement was posted.
“Northwestel technicians have identified damage to a fibre line in northern B.C. caused by significant land erosion.
“We expect service to be impacted for several more hours as we repair the line. Thank you for your patience.”
The cables were broken at kilometre 780 of the highway, just north of the Liard Hot Springs and well south of Watson Lake.
The reactions to the failure on social media were a mixture of positive and negative.
One Twitter user wrote, “We need something better than cables that are susceptible to construction and ‘erosion.’
“We are held hostage by this single set of (three) cables that are invariably damaged every single year.”
Another user tweeted, “When are you running a second fibre optic cable to Skagway and be done with this mess?”
Conversely, the Yukon government is spearheading a $70-million project to run an underground fibre optic cable along the Dempster Highway corridor from the Dawson City area to Inuvik, N.W.T.
Barring any unforseen labour and/or supply shortages, the project is expected to be completed in 2024.
Wednesday’s outage caused numerous problems for customers and businesses all over the Yukon.
Banking services were down for the most part in Whitehorse and elsewhere.
Many businesses were reduced to accepting cash only from customers – something most don’t have on hand these days.
Yukoners have suffered a series of lengthy Internet failures in recent years, frequently caused by contractors in B.C. who inadvertently slice through the crucial link with their heavy equipment.