Fibre optic internet comes to Whatì, N.W.T.

Lac La Martre in Whatì, N.W.T., in November. (Jenna Dulewich/CBC)

‘It will be a really good communication tool,’ says Alfonz Nitsiza

In Whatì, some buildings are now seeing internet speeds as high as Yellowknife, thanks to a fibre optic internet connection.

The Tłı̨chǫ government announced that the fibre optic line to Whatì was completed last week. The new fibre optic line runs along the new Whatì highway and connects to the fibre optic network at highway 3.

The project was led by the Tłı̨chǫ Government, with funding from the Tłı̨chǫ, territorial, and federal governments. Northwestel is running the new internet service.

Whatì’s Chief Alfonz Nitsiza said that one important benefit of the new internet will be to connect students in the community to more online courses and help the local health centre work better.

“It will be a really good communication tool,” he said. “The benefit will be great.”

But although the fibre line to Whatì has been completed, not everyone is able to access high-speed internet yet.

Whatì Chief Alfonz Nitsizia at his kitchen table in 2021. (John Van Dusen/CBC News)

Before residents can access high speed internet, they need to get a fibre optic line installed connecting their homes to the high-speed network. Some residents like Nitsiza have gotten the line installed already, but others are still waiting.

Most community buildings in town are still waiting on a fibre hookup as well, including Mezi community school and the local health centre.

‘Flawless’ internet at the store

A few buildings in town have already been hooked up to the new fibre optic network, including the Whatì Community Store.

Kim Tucker is the manager of the store and motel. She said the computer system at the store has been “flawless” since they got the new internet, and it’s made her work a lot faster.

“You don’t need to worry about having more than one thing open. I can open up ten [things] on my desktop if I want,” she said.

Some houses have already gotten hooked up to the new internet too.

Mezi Community School in Whatì on Nov. 29, 2022. Jenna Dulewich/CBC (Jenna Dulewich/CBC)

Lisa Nitsiza got her house connected to Whatì’s new fibre optic line last March.

She said that while the fast internet is great for going through emails for work and staying connected to her security system, it’s her two boys, 13 and 17, who really enjoy the high-speed connection.

She said they especially love playing video games like Minecraft on the new internet.

“It makes life a lot easier,” she said. “I don’t have boys fighting.”

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: $123.9 million additional funding announced for high-speed internet in Arctic Quebec, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: New satellites to boost communications in Arctic Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian military to get fast, secure internet through trans-Arctic cable, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: $30.3 million grant announced to build up high-speed internet in rural Alaska, Eye on the Arctic

Sarah Krymalowski, CBC News

Sarah Krymalowski is a reporter with CBC North in Iqaluit. You can reach her at

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *