The Yukon government must work to keep Yukoners connected

Hon. Richard Mostyn
Minister of Community Services

Hon. Ranj Pillai
Minister of Economic Development
Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2C6

Dear Ministers Mostyn and Pillai,

Xplornet recently announced that they will end their KA2 internet service, cutting off more than 500 rural Yukoners from access to vital internet services as of December 31, 2022. There are no realistic alternatives to this service for Yukoners who depend on it.

In this digital age, everything is dependent on the internet. From local crafters selling their products online, to placer miners, farmers and remote tourism operators – a broad spectrum of our economy is dependent on this service. Many off-grid and rural Yukoners also depend on Xplornet for social connectivity and access to increasingly digitized Government services.

Rural Yukoners have relied on Xplornet for more than a decade now and adapted their lives to include as an integral part of their businesses, social lives, and safety nets. During this summer’s flooding and forest fire events, rural Yukoners depended on their internet connection to get the latest evacuation alerts, and updates from the Government. For many, it is their only way to access this critical information.

Both the CRTC and the Yukon government consider the internet to be a basic right which all Canadians are entitled to. Despite this, the Yukon Government hasn’t provided any information or hope for alternative options to the many Yukoners who depend on Xplornet.

Telesat, which owns the satellite used to provide Xplornet’s services, has committed to launching new satellites that will provide high speed internet across the North by early 2024.

What are Yukoners expected to do between December 31, 2022 and early 2024?

What is your government doing to keep this service available for the Yukoners who depend on it beyond December 31st?

With the end of Xplornet services in Yukon, hundreds of Yukoners' lives will go back in time, to a disconnected era. Are Yukoners living outside of broadband serviced communities expected to just drop out of the modern economy and give up their businesses and social connections developed over the last decade? 

The Yukon government must step up and play an active role to keep these hundreds of Yukoners connected.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kate White

Leader of the Yukon NDP

MLA Takhini Kopper-King