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Fort Nelson getting 911 services

Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster says the remote town will be getting 911 services and expects the service to be in place by the end of December. It’s a first for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which is home to 5,393 residents.
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Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster says the remote town will be getting 911 services and expects the service to be in place by the end of December. It’s a first for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which is home to 5,393 residents.

“It looks like we’ll be getting 911 service for Fort Nelson here before the new year, and so that is a big win for us,” said Foster, adding that plans are still being finalized.

The service would be delivered through Northwestel and utilize a basic version of 911.

“That is a big deal for us, because we have Americans going up and down the highway, and they didn’t know that we don’t have 911 service,” Foster.

911 has been a rarity in Canada’s far north, with the Yukon having connected the service territory wide in 2016. Broadband connectivity also remains an issue for many communities.

On August 30, Northwestel announced that unlimited data plans will be coming to seven communities on Nov. 1.

The list includes Fort Nelson, Whitehorse, Carcross, Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, and Norman Wells.

Northwestel said in its press release that it's committed to making the download speed of 50 megabits per second and upload speed of 10 megabits per second.

Fort Nelson continues to work on their broadband connectivity strategy, which was released back in March.

“We’re working on phase two of our broadband strategy that would bring significant improvements to all the residents in the Northern Rockies to put us on equal footing with other places in Canada,” said Foster.

Phase two would see the Northern Rockies build a business plan, with contractors being brought in to create competitive services, as Northwestel remains the sole telecom provider for the region.  

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca