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Inuvik business owner welcomes Mackenzie Valley fibre optic link

Politicians, aboriginal leaders and business owners gathered Wednesday to mark the start of construction on a project some hope will benefit the struggling town.

Politicians, aboriginal leaders and business owners attended groundbreaking Wednesday

A business owner in Inuvik, N.W.T., is welcoming the start of construction of the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Optic Line.

N.W.T. Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger, aboriginal leaders and five MLAs attended a ground-breaking ceremony in the town on Wednesday.

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. (David Thurton/CBC)

Ledcor, a construction company based in Vancouver, will build the fibre line running from Fort Simpson to Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope and Inuvik. It's expected to measure between 1,100 and 1,200 kilometres.

Fibre lines have more carrying capacity for telecommunications and high bandwidth applications such as internet than the microwave relay towers currently used to transmit telecommunications along the Mackenzie Valley.​

Once construction of the line to Inuvik is finished, Northwestel will operate and maintain it for 20 years.

Bernie MacNeil owns Arctic Digital Ltd., a computer and server support company. He is optimistic the project will bring more contracts for local businesses. 

Bernie MacNeil of Arctic Digital Ltd., hopes the fibre optic line will bring more contracts for local businesses. (CBC)

"We certainly hope it does. We definitely would like to see some of the builders and proponents of it use some of our expertise and service and support." 

The project is estimated to cost $82 million and be completed by mid-2016.

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