OneWeb’s northern satellite hub to be built in Yellowknife

A major new satellite installation will be built in Yellowknife over the coming months, powering OneWeb’s low-Earth orbit satellites serving northern Canada.

A series of 27 antennae will form a base station in the city’s Engle Business District. On Wednesday, OneWeb and its partners said the station should be built by the end of 2023.

Internet data will be transmitted between the base station and northern communities that use OneWeb’s satellites to get online.


“If you think of somebody sitting up in Ulukhaktok, when they’re using the internet over OneWeb, their traffic will flow over the OneWeb satellite network, up into a low-Earth orbit satellite and back down into Yellowknife, where it will connect to the rest of the internet,” said Andrew Anderson, a spokesperson for Northwestel, which is a partner on the project. The base station will connect via Northwestel’s fibre line to the south and the wider world.

Northwestel already had a deal with OneWeb to collaborate on low-Earth orbit satellites, and is using OneWeb to provide internet to some northern communities whose service was in danger of literally crashing to Earth as an older satellite began to fail sooner than planned.

Swedish Space Corporation, which has a presence at an Inuvik satellite station, is signing a 10-year deal to build and manage the Yellowknife station, which the companies termed a satellite network portal.

The dollar investment in Yellowknife associated with the deal wasn’t immediately clear, but the companies involved said it would be “sizeable” and the project “will contribute significantly to the City of Yellowknife and the broader territory.”

Yellowknife's Eagle Drive will host the new facility
Yellowknife’s Eagle Drive will host the new facility. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A satellite dish at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, where Swedish Space Corporation already has a presence. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

Northwestel will still focus on its fibre service in communities that have a connection, but the intention is for OneWeb to rival the likes of Starlink in places that can’t access a fibre line.


The companies said the project had the support of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

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“Canada is one of the first countries to have access to a LEO network and is a top-priority market for OneWeb,” said OneWeb’s Americas vice-president, Howard Stanley.

“We are thrilled that through this partnership with SSC and Northwestel, we will be able to provide even the farthest reaches of the country with reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity … we are proud to be providing Canada with a robust solution to the decades-long problem it has faced in delivering connectivity to remote regions.”


“it is a pretty big installation,” said Anderson, “and a pretty big construction project for the people of Yellowknife, in particular, so we’re really excited to be a part of it.”