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Xplornet extended satellite contract two years to connect Haida Gwaii and parts of Yukon

Last updated on March 18, 2021

Xplornet had announced in August that it would be winding down its contract with Telesat’s aging Anik F2 satellite that provided coverage to areas including B.C.’s Haida Gwaii and the Yukon. But the feds intervened and forced Xplornet and Telesat to hammer-out a two-year deal.

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What’s the deal? After saying in August that the expiry of a satellite contract would end service in some remote areas, Xplornet signed a two-year extension with Telesat, the owner of the Anik F2, which powered remote regions in British Columbia and Yukon but was nearing the end of its technological lifespan.

The Yukon News reported in November that Xplornet reversed its decision to end service on December 31, 2020, but the report said it was unclear at the time for how long service would continue. Affected residents were notified of the decision.

The federal government, which didn’t contribute money or buy capacity from the satellite, met with Xplornet and Telesat between August and October to relay the importance of connectivity in Canada’s North, after which the parties sat at the table. Xplornet is seeking a longer-term solution with the multiple levels of government after Anik F2, it said.

What they said: “After establishing that a number of customers in remote areas of Yukon and Haida Gwaii had no alternate options for Internet services, we made the decision to secure a two year extension with the satellite owner to avoid disconnecting these customers. We are seeking a longer term solution with the Government of Canada and the provincial/territorial governments to ensure these customers will have service options past the lifespan of Anik F2.”

“New satellite communications systems are expected to become operational within the timeframe of the extension,” Innovation Canada told the downUP. “It is expected that these new, state-of-the-art systems will be in a position to provide service in the North once the Xplornet service using Anik F2 ends.”

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