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Northwestel and OneWeb Teams Upgrade Far North Communities with Satellites

Northwestel will soon be upgrading their service in several NWT communities with the help of new satellite technology.

Surfing, streaming, online banking, and more in Paulatuk and Gamètì, NWT and Old Crow, Yukon now flow over OneWeb low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite technology. Soon, seven other communities will connect the same way. These ten communities are currently served by a geostationary (GEO) satellite approaching end-of-life.

The work to bring new LEO satellite technology to these communities was completed within just five months of the announcement of the existing satellite’s imminent end-of-life date. Northwestel partnered with communications-from-space leader OneWeb to deploy carrier-grade low Earth orbit technology. In these communities, four OneWeb antennas are secured on large, raised, steel platforms. The dishes track a constellation of small washing-machine sized satellites that orbit the earth 35x closer than a typical geostationary satellite. Northwestel’s existing in-community network then carries broadband from the central hub right to homes and businesses.

Northwestel plans to upgrade the remaining communities in January 2023. The transition will take place in the early hours of the morning and should not exceed a 30-minute disruption to services. Once the cut-over is complete, services for residents and businesses should continue as expected.

The NWT communities that will see this service upgrade are Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk, Colville Lake, Gamètì, Wekweètì, Łutselk’e, and Sambaa K’e. Old Crow, YT and Fort Ware, BC will also see upgrades.

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