The Yukon Government is promising to do something about slow and expensive internet and telecommunications services in the territory.

Economic Development Minister Currie Dixon made the surprise announcement at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday in Whitehorse.

Dixon told the crowd a recent report to the government confirmed what most Yukoners already know. Compared to southern Canada, download speeds are much slower and consumers pay double for half the service.

"Our consumers pay 40 per cent more for 5 MB download service than southern Canadians do for 10 MB download service, and this gap increases significantly if users exceed their monthly usage cap," he said.

"For businesses, the gap is 800 per cent — Yukon businesses pay eight times what a business in the South pays for a 50 MB per second service."

The report calls for a new department in government, a Technology and Telecommunications Development Directorate.

"The high cost and slow speed are making local businesses less competitive and constraining growth and diversification of the Yukon economy," Dixon said.

He promises a feasibility study for a second telecommunications link to the south, through Skagway and Juneau.

Yukon technology analyst Rick Steele said he welcomes the news.

"That's been a crying need forever," he said. "If you start doing the math on this you will make your money back."

The work will be co-ordinated by the newly-created directorate.