Whitehorse Daily Star

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Premier Sandy Silver

YG has chosen option for fibre optic link

A route has been chosen for a fibre optic redundancy link in the territory, Premier Sandy Silver told the legislative assembly Monday.

By Taylor Blewett on March 6, 2018

A route has been chosen for a fibre optic redundancy link in the territory, Premier Sandy Silver told the legislative assembly Monday.

But Yukoners will have to wait a little longer to find out whether the link will follow the Dempster Highway route to Inuvik, N.W.T., or the South Klondike Highway route to Skagway, AK.

“We have done an awful lot of work on this file, and we are waiting for just a little bit more info from Ottawa before we can make any announcements,” Silver told the house.

“But you can be guaranteed that the route has been picked and the work will be done this summer.”

The Yukon government is waiting for embargoed information from the federal government, the premier explained.

“We’re very excited to be announcing further details on this in very close due time.”

The fibre optic link, a means of improving Internet service reliability in the Yukon, will be a multi-year project, Silver said.

The 2018-19 territorial budget tabled last Thursday allocates $11.8 million for the fibre link, and $11.1 million in recoveries from third parties and Canada.

According to Silver, the Yukon government’s budgeted money “is representative of the good work that we can get accomplished this year.”

This $11.8-million allocation comes very close to matching a capital contribution put forward last year in a Yukon government Expression of Interest (EOI) on a South Klondike fibre optic link.

In two Expressions of Interest (EOI) in 2017, the Yukon government requested information from interested parties on a Dempster fibre optic link and a South Klondike fibre optic link.

The current government put both routes on the table for evaluation, with a Speech from the Throne promise that an evidence-based decision will determine which route is eventually chosen.

The purpose of both EOI was to determine if there was “sufficient interest from qualified providers” that would allow either link to be sustainable.

In both EOI, the government said it would consider providing a capital contribution toward the development of the fibre optic link.

For the Dempster, the size of the contribution would be no more than $60 million, or 80 per cent of the cost of the line, whichever is lower.

For the South Klondike, the size of the capital contribution would be no more than $11.25 million or 80 per cent of the cost of the line, whichever is lower.

In both cases, the contribution amount would be assessed “on a review of the full proposal to provide redundant fibre services.”

According to the EOI, a Dempster fibre line would see the Yukon government maintain ownership of the line and provide a 20-year exclusive lease to the respondent for its maintenance and operation.

A South Klondike fibre line would see Yukon government ownership with the provision of a 10-year exclusive lease for maintenance and operation.

A redundant fibre line will provide backup when a service interruption affects the Yukon’s main fibre line up the Alaska Highway, owned and operated by Northwestel Inc.

Over the last few years, there have been several instances of contractors’ excavators severing cables in British Columbia and Alberta. Those mistakes have paralyzed Yukon Internet services for hours and forced many stores and businesses to shut down because they couldn’t conduct sales transactions.

The Yukon government has applied for federal funding on both redundancy route options, the Star reported last fall.

Comments (7)

Up 1 Down 0

What happens to internet traffic when it hits US? on Mar 7, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Maybe it's not an issue, but I would like to understand the difference in privacy laws. Financial information, health records, etc open to Homeland Security? if someone at YG has done that analysis, it would be interesting to know the findings

Up 0 Down 0

ralpH on Mar 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Hey Walter, going to be a hot busy summer in the Klondike!! Else where cool and slow. Just like 1898 all roads lead there.

Up 2 Down 0

BnR on Mar 7, 2018 at 6:13 am

Premier Silver?
The way things are being run its pretty much Premier Pillai.

Up 1 Down 0

Walter on Mar 7, 2018 at 3:55 am

Hey ralph; Will it be a hot dry summer or a cool wet one?

Up 4 Down 0

Hugh Mungus on Mar 6, 2018 at 4:26 pm

"I'm here to make an announcement that I will be making an announcement at a later date" - Sandy Silver

The Dempster Route is the wrong way to go. South Klondike to Skagway literally has a rail bed from here to there.

Up 3 Down 1

competition needed on Mar 6, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Better end the monopoly and allow for some real competition...

Up 3 Down 2

ralpH on Mar 6, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Dempster for sure. All Resources, and manpower are pointed that way. Hmmm Premier have something to do with that? You think? Interesting to know how much investment will flow to the Klondike this year. Larry will blow his travel budget just making the announcements.

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