For businesses south of Hay River, one of the summer’s challenges as they recover from severe flooding has been the lack of connectivity.
With no phone or internet service for months, orders, repairs and other communications required that residents of Paradise Valley drive elsewhere to find cell service.
The most reliable signal is in Hay River or Enterprise, both more than 20 km away.
Lack of service is not just an inconvenience but a safety issue, argues resident Bhreagh Ingarfield.
“As cell reception is weak to non-existent in Paradise, the internet and phone line is a vital tool for emergency calls, as well as crucial for the viability of the many businesses out here,” Ingarfield said.
In June, several residents reported hearing from their provider, Northwestel, that internet and phone service might not be available until December – or later.
But in August, the company began work to install a mobile cellular tower in the area. By early September, residents found their service had been at least partially restored.
Northwestel has also pledged to install new fibre-optic services by the end of fall.
“We are committed to not just restoring service to residents in the area but improving their service,” said Andrew Anderson, director of communications for the telecom company.
“Northwestel will be building full fibre-to-the-home connections in Paradise Valley to replace the damaged copper wiring. This will provide customers with internet speeds up to 20 times faster than was previously available, options for unlimited data and TV service.”
Work to install these fibre connections is under way.