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RCMP to investigate damaged fibre infrastructure causing widespread outage: Northwestel

Northwestel says it has referred the investigation into the damaged fibre infrastructure near Yellowknife to the RCMP.

Internet, phone and TV services disrupted for most of Saturday in the Yellowknife area

Northwestel says RCMP will look into the damaged fibre infrastructure near Yellowknife that caused widespread outages in Yellowknife, Whati and Behchoko, N.W.T. (Chuck Stoody/Canadian Press)

Northwestel says RCMP will investigate damages to fibre infrastructure that led to a widespread communications outage in the Yellowknife area Saturday.

The disruptions began early morning, and affected phone, internet and TV services in Yellowknife, Whati and Behchoko, N.W.T.

In an email around 9:30 a.m. local time Saturday, Northwestel said customers should be prepared to be without service for "at least several hours" as technicians work to "repair infrastructure."

At about 7:30 p.m., Northwestel said technicians have done temporary repairs, and all services were restored. 

"Northwestel has referred the investigation to the RCMP and we will not be commenting further on it at this time," said director of communications Andrew Anderson, in the email statement.

"We apologize to our customers."

Glen's Your Independent Grocer in downtown Yellowknife posted this notice Saturday morning, advising customers of slow debit and credit machines. (Katherine Barton/CBC)

Airlines at the Yellowknife airport resorted to "traditional ways" of checking in passengers, like handwriting tickets and baggage tags. Air Canada and Canadian North representatives told CBC on Saturday afternoon that some flights were affected by the disruptions. A WestJet representative said there were several "challenges" throughout the day, but flights hadn't been cancelled.

Grocery stores had slower than usual wait times for credit and debit machines, while some stores in Yellowknife accepted cash only.

Many customers took to Twitter during the disruptions to express frustrations.

In May, Yellowknifers experienced a "major disruption" of telecommunication services after a fibre line was damaged.

CBC has contacted the RCMP for more information on the investigation, but has not heard back as of Sunday morning.

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