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Northwestel signs another low-Earth orbit satellite deal

A Northwestel building in Inuvik
A Northwestel building in Inuvik. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

Northwestel, the North’s dominant internet provider, on Wednesday announced a deal to access London-based OneWeb’s network of low-Earth orbit satellites.

The agreement follows an earlier memorandum of understanding with Telesat, a Canadian firm launching a similar network.

By phone on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Northwestel said that while the Telesat deal focuses on helping the company to provide unlimited data to 32 satellite-served northern communities, the OneWeb agreement is intended to provide “enterprise-scale solutions” to businesses and governments operating in remote locations.

In a news release, Northwestel and OneWeb said the two would “collaborate on opportunities to deliver new connectivity services to remote mines, businesses, and governments across Canada’s North using OneWeb’s low-Earth orbit satellite backbone.”



No public financial value has been attached to the deal, and it’s not clear if the two already have customers lined up for their joint service.

More: What will low-Earth orbit satellites do for northern internet?

Telesat and OneWeb are joined the likes of Starlink in attempting to provide next-generation satellite internet services across the globe.

Starlink earlier this year began inviting northerners to directly pre-order its service, forecasting it would become operational for Northwest Territories customers in 2022.