SHANGHAI, CHINA - Ice Wireless and Iristel are partnering with Huawei Canada to enter into a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to provide 3G cellular services to rural and remote communities in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Yukon Territories and Nunavut.
"Providing all people of the Northwest Territories with better telecommunications infrastructure is a priority for this government," said NWT Premier Bob McLeod in a news release. “Better access to advanced cellular services and broadband Internet will enhance our competitiveness, create higher value-added jobs and make new business models possible."
Presently, residents of the three territories of Northern Canada have the lowest availability and highest costs for telecommunications services in the country says Iristel. According to a recent report by the CRTC, only 66% of the North has access to wireless Internet and just 48% has access to 3G cellular services - compared to 99% access in the rest of the country.
The network upgrade and expansion by Ice Wireless and Iristel, powered by Huawei networking equipment, will improve 3G and wireless broadband services to 60,659 people across the three territories, and provide access to services that were previously unavailable to local residents. The plan includes expanding telecommunications services to some of the smallest and most challenging areas in the country, including the remote community of Aklavik, a community with a population of 594, and without road access.
Ice Wireless-Iristel will also provide Northern residents with fixed line services, including home telephone through Iristel's Canada-wide VoIP CLEC network, enabling local and long distance calling at competitive rates.
"We are excited to be part of the government's mission to bridge the digital divide for the Northwest Territories," said Samer Bishay, President and CEO of both Ice Wireless and Iristel. "Connecting the North with the rest of Canada opens up a world of possibilities. We aim to ensure rural and remote households, businesses and community organizations in the North have access to prices and service that are fast, affordable, and every bit as good as those enjoyed by the rest of Canada, if not better."
The partners plan to deploy the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System network by the end of 2013.