Tłı̨chǫ Government Completes Fibre Optic Line to Whatì

March 27, 2023 – Behchoko. The Tłı̨chǫ Government is pleased to announce the completion of the fibre optic line from Highway 3 to the Tłı̨chǫ Community of Whatì. Northwestel can now launch full fibre internet service in Whatì, Northwest Territories, and provide residents with access to speeds up to 500 Mbps and unlimited data, all at the same rates available in Yellowknife. 

The buried fibre optic cable follows the alignment of the newly constructed Whatì Highway and was installed during the final phases of road construction. 

The Tłı̨chǫ Government contracted the installation of the fibre optic line to Tłı̨chǫ Kiewit General Partnership who have extensive experience working together as partners in the construction of the Tłı̨chǫ Highway to Whatì. Tłı̨chǫ Government managed the project and owns the fibre optic cable.

Funding for the project was provided through a Tłı̨chǫ led partnership between three levels of government:

  • $5.0 million from the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund and $3.0 million from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • $1.5 million from the Tłı̨chǫ Government
  • $1.4 million from the Government of the Northwest Territories

Tłı̨chǫ Government invested in this project to ensure that the Community of Whatì is not left behind when it comes to accessing fast and reliable internet for its residents and worked closely with Northwestel to ensure that the community has fibre-to-the-home throughout Whatì. 

The Tłı̨chǫ Government’s fibre optic line is leased to Northwestel with guaranteed benefit to the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation for a minimum of 20 years.

Chief Nitsiza stated that “this project will benefit all Whatì residents, especially the youth who can now take advantage of opportunities provided by high-speed internet equal to other parts of Canada.”

The new fibre optic cable can also provide:

  • improved access to healthcare 
  • improved connectivity for future technologies
  • better business and employment options 
  • more on-the-job and other training opportunities
  • Enhanced community ties allowing local people to communicate with family and people all over the world

The Tłı̨chǫ Government is pleased to have successfully managed this project on-time and on- budget to help ensure a better future for their residents, especially the youth.


“The partnerships we have fostered with Northwestel, the GNWT, and Canada in support of this project have ensured that the community of Whatì is poised to take advantage of and participate in present and future technological innovation that will assist our residents and especially our youth in achieving their future goals.”  

Chief Alfonz Nitsiza 


“This project is a testament to the importance of the Tłı̨chǫ vision for the future and a great example of Tłı̨chǫ Government’s capacity to take the lead in ensuring that important projects like this fibre optic cable can be successfully undertaken and managed by our people and our businesses.” 

Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty


For more information, contact:

[email protected]



Related News