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SaskTel plans to close gaps in coverage for northern, rural communities

Source: The Canadian Press News
SaskTel plans to close gaps in coverage for northern, rural communities

REGINA — Government-owned Sasktel is looking to fill holes in its existing coverage network rather than extending it.

Acting president and CEO Doug Burnett says there are still gaps in northern and rural areas.

Almost 2,700 homes across northern Saskatchewan now have high-speed internet and 500 kilometres of fibre-optic cable has been installed.

Some two dozen First Nations communities now have improved internet service.

Burnett says that trend is expected to continue through the rest of this year.

Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskTel, says the company doesn't expect to lose money by providing enhanced services.

SaskTel's annual report shows that the Crown company posted net income of $121 million in 2017-18.

"There are some holes on the highways that we know we need to cover," Burnett said Wednesday. "There are some ... resort areas where the population grows for a few months that are significantly underserved."

Morgan said it's a balancing act.

"SaskTel has an obligation to return a profit and maintain good business decisions ... but at the same time the province has an obligation to try and ensure services for as many of its citizens as possible."


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