Bell sells Northwestel for $1B to Indigenous group 26

Bell sells Northwestel for $1B to Indigenous group

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In a groundbreaking move, Bell has announced the sale of Northwestel to a consortium of Indigenous communities from the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut known as Sixty North Unity for a price tag of up to $1 billion. The deal, as per a press release, signifies a significant step towards advancing economic reconciliation.

Following the acquisition, Northwestel is set to become the largest telecom company with complete Indigenous ownership under Sixty North Unity. The consortium has outlined ambitious plans for the future, including doubling internet speeds to 1Gbps for fibre customers, expanding high-speed internet availability to meet the CRTC’s 50/10Mbps target, and introducing low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite technology. Additionally, a $4 million investment is earmarked for the development of the Great Slave Lake Fibre Project, aimed at enhancing resiliency in the Yellowknife capital and South Slave regions of the Northwest Territories.

Despite the ownership transfer, Sixty North Unity intends to retain Northwestel’s current leadership team while enhancing Indigenous representation within the company's workforce. Bell has expressed its commitment to maintaining a strategic partnership with Northwestel even after the transaction is finalized. Notably, Bell had acquired Northwestel back in 1988.

The move towards Indigenous ownership of Northwestel, a prominent telecom player in the region, marks a significant milestone in fostering economic empowerment and inclusivity within the telecommunications industry in Canada.