Northwestel is upgrading Dettah’s internet access (again)

Northwestel is beginning a second round of work to upgrade internet access in Dettah, a year after rolling out the last improvements.

In April 2022, the company – which is the NWT’s dominant telecoms provider – said it was introducing what it calls “fibre-to-the-home” in Dettah with download speeds of up to 50 mbps.

While Northwestel said that was triple the previously available speed in the community, there was still an obstacle: even with fibre to the home, Dettah was still connected to the broader network by a microwave tower that can’t match a full fibre line for capacity.


This summer, work will take place to string a fibre line from pole to pole along Highway 4 and the Dettah road.

When complete, the new fibre line will give Dettah full fibre connection to Yellowknife and beyond, which a Northwestel spokesperson said will “allow us to match Yellowknife speeds of 500 mbps, the fastest home internet in the North.”

Regulatory documents suggest work will begin in mid-May with an anticipated completion date of October 1.

While Northwestel declined to confirm the project’s cost, a spokesperson said the work will be paid for by “Northwestel’s own significant investments and $62 million in funding from the CRTC Broadband Fund.” A regulatory response by a contractor, on Northwestel’s behalf, further states the new line is “a CRTC-funded effort.”