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Fibre line damage hits South Slave telecoms, again

Once safe to do so, Northwestel technicians began work to splice in several kilometers of new fibre in the aftermath of massive wildfire activity in the South Slave region of the NWT. Photo: Northwestel
Northwestel technicians repair a section of fibre line in the aftermath of damage from August's South Slave wildfires. Photo: Northwestel

Internet and phone services were either slow or unavailable in some South Slave communities for part of Thursday after a fibre line was damaged.

On Thursday morning, Northwestel said on social media that “network issues” were affecting internet access in Jean Marie River, phone service in Fort Smith, and both phone and internet in Hay River.

In an internal memo on Thursday, the NWT government said Northwestel had “reported a potential fibre cut” affecting those communities.

“Services are completely unavailable in Jean Marie River, Services in Fort Smith and Hay River are degraded and intermittent,” the GNWT memo stated.

Northwestel said on X (formerly Twitter) its technicians were investigating.



By email to Cabin Radio, a spokesperson said on Thursday afternoon: “We are managing fire-related damage to fibre infrastructure in the South Slave area that impacted service to Jean-Marie River, Hay River and Fort Smith earlier this morning. 

“Repairs are under way and services are currently working in those communities.”

In August, a communications blackout lasting five days – triggered by wildfire damage to the nearby fibre line – significantly complicated efforts to evacuate and protect communities as wildfires approached.