An Xplornet display of products. A number of rural residents in the territory received notices from Xplornet earlier this month that their satellite internet service would be discontinued by Dec. 31. (Xplornet Facebook)

Remote Xplornet customers in the Yukon could lose internet by end of year

Around 400 to 600 Yukon connections could be affected by the change, including placer miners.

Yukoners who live or work remotely could lose internet access by the end of the year as Xplornet ends service on one of its satellites.

A number of rural residents in the territory received notices from Xplornet earlier this month that their satellite internet service would be discontinued by Dec. 31.

“This service is shutting down because the satellite we rely on to provide you service has reached the end of its life and will no longer be available to us,” reads the notice.

The satellite in question is Telesat’s Anik F2 satellite, launched on July 17, 2004 and one of five satellites used by Xplornet to provide service. Although it is reaching the end of its predicted lifespan, the satellite is not actually being decommissioned.

The notice instructs customers to call Xplornet in order to switch to another service, but some remote customers are struggling to find an alternative service.

“Xplornet has little interest in maintaining internet for remote Yukoners,” said Rhonda Rosie, who lives around 130 kilometres north of Watson Lake and is affected by the service notice.

“Some of the people affected are actively seeking other solutions, but so far nothing is for sure. Time is running out,” she said.

Steve Sorochan, the Yukon government’s director of information and communications technology, estimated around 400 to 600 Yukon connections could be affected by the change, including placer miners.

Most will be able to switch providers or service packages, in some cases facing steep cost increases for commercial services, but some will be left with no options. With Xplornet service being ended by Dec. 31, some residents will also face a winter freeze-up that could impact new installations they need to continue service.

Sorochan said because the Anik F2 is not being decommissioned, and is expected to continue operations until 2025, the government has been working with federal partners in lobbying Xplornet to extend service for customers not able to transition.

“The ideal solution, given the timing of things, is that we’d see service extended at least for a year, at least for a construction season so alternates can be found. Ideally, it would continue at least till 2025,” Sorochan said.

Steve Van Groningen, Xplornet’s manager of corporate affairs, said the company decided to end service because capacity on the technology was limited and it is “concerned about the age of the satellite and its future viability.”

“We don’t take this situation lightly. We do understand that there are some customers who are certainly out of service. Situations where we have to end services to customers in rural and remote areas are certainly challenging for us and where we are disappointed that we are in this situation,” Van Groningen said.

Yukoners aren’t the only people affected by the change. Rural residents in parts of Haida Gwaii will also lose service, as well as people living in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern areas of some provinces.

Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell said his office has heard from around a dozen Yukoners about concerns around the cancellation of service.

Bagnell said his office has been in communication with Xplornet and Industry Canada to try and find solutions.

“We contacted Xplornet and they committed to making sure that they would contact every customer and make sure they got clear information on what was happening. My understanding is this is happening. The company is trying to find alternatives if there are any from other providers but if not, then they’re letting the customers know early,” he said.

Universal high-speed internet was a campaign promise for the Liberal government, who set targets of 2026 for 95 per cent of Canadians getting coverage and 2030 for the remainder.

“It won’t be immediately, but in the long run, we’ve committed to making sure everyone in Canada actually has high speed internet service,” said Bagnell, acknowledging that six years is still a long time to wait for those losing service this year.

Contact Haley Ritchie at

Internet and Telecom

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read