Project Profile

  • NorthwesTel Operations & Maintenance

    A Joint Venture That Keeps People Connected

    What does it take to manage operations in a four million square kilometre service area? A dedicated team focused on performance, organization, communication and accountability. And that’s exactly what we achieve, while maintaining 157 NorthwesTel microwave sites across 96 different communities in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut and northern British Columbia.

    We have a long and successful history of building effective partnerships, including those with Indigenous communities across Canada. The NorthwesTel project is no different: it is operated under our 50/50 joint venture with Northern Aboriginal Services Company (NASCo).



    Date:  1998 - Present

    Location:  Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and British Columbia

    Client:  NorthwesTel

    Category:  Operations & Maintenance

    NorthwesTel is the sole supplier of network and cellular telephone services in this region. Downtime isn’t an option as 110,000 people depend on their coverage. Therefore, we have demanding performance targets to ensure 99.990% system availability, leaving little room for error.


    Effective Delivery of Services

    For 24 years, we've been responsible for the operation and maintenance of microwave towers and their power generating systems, including management of the northern site refueling program.

    • Manage diesel power generation and deliver system critical fuel to 160 NorthwesTel and NMI Mobility network repeater sites, some of which are only accessible by helicopter
    • Maintenance and repair of 248 diesel power plants ranging in size from 5 to 350 kW
    • Re-supply of approximately 1.8 million litres of diesel fuel annually to the sites
    • Logistics support including provision of all air charter requirements for network site maintenance activities, through contracts with air carriers in 15 northern communities.
    • Reducing NorthwesTel’s operations and maintenance costs 


    Demonstrating Advanced Operational Capabilities

    The remote site locations and the often extreme nature of the weather require steps and precautions to ensure consistent operations, including tracking weather patterns, assessing road conditions and accessibility and coordinating over 300 suppliers in 50 different communities. All of course, while operating within federal, territorial and local regulations and permitting required by logistics operations in the area.


    Overcoming Challenges

    The logistics requirements of the operation are demanding. With some sites over 40 years old and with 46 sites accessible only by helicopter, the challenges are apparent. Flexibility within the scheduling and operations have allowed us to deliver all services and meet performance requirements despite often austere environments. 

    We work tireless to go above and beyond what is expected, including reducing fuel costs, saving on charter transport, and efficiently maintaining and using equipment to reduce asset down time and maintenance costs across the project’s sites.

    NWTel Refuelling