Fibre optic cable follows path blazed by Mackenzie pipeline

The Northwest Territories government hopes that work done in preparation for the Mackenzie Gas Project can be used in a plan to lay a fibre optic cable that will bring high speed internet throughout the Mackenzie Valley.
A poster displayed at a public meeting in Fort Simpson shows the fibre optic route.
The Northwest Territories government hopes to use pre-existing data, along with new studies, to help propel the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link project through the permitting phase.

The plan is to build a 1,100 km fibre optic cable that will bring high speed internet from Fort Simpson to Inuvik.

  • Scroll down to see a map of the fibre optic cable's route

“The Mackenzie Gas Project did quite a bit of work through that area where there isn't a lot of information out there, so any information at this point in time is valuable,” says Sean Craig, an analyst overseeing the project.

The hope is that enough work has been done already that a full environmental assessment will not be necessary.

“The highway also worked with a lot of the organizations up there and built off a lot of the work the Mackenzie Gas Project had put together so a lot of that baseline data was brought forward to our project.”

Installing the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link will mean clearing a six metre wide access along existing roads and right of ways from Fort Simpson to Fort Good Hope, then traversing the Mackenzie Valley to the Dempster Highway, and along the Dempster to Inuvik.

The cable — which is about as thick as a magic marker — would be buried in a small trench. Vegetation would be allowed to re grow over it once installation is complete.

Craig says the cable would be left in place once it has reached the end of its life cycle, about 25 years from now.

The government would like to start construction in January. 

The red line represents the Government of the Northwest Territories' proposed Mackenzie Valley fibre optic link. The yellow line represents fibre optic cable that's already in place.