Brief History of YukonNet

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The desire to build a data connection between the Yukon and the rest of Canada arose in the late 1980's among academics and government employees who wished to retain what they had depended on while working in the South.

Advocates came and went, but what kept avid supporters licking stamps and fumbling with faxes was the price tag of the transport system...in excess of $30,000/year for a low-bandwidth, analog leased line to Vancouver or Edmonton, some 1,500 miles away.

Groups and committees occasionally sprung up to try to overcome this hurdle, but in the meantime self-starters looked for alternatives, most of them costly (for example, connecting to commercial BBS services via Datapac or long-distance calls).

In 1993, the Yukon NeXT User Group, with the help of the University of Alberta, established a reliable UUCP service and the Yukon's first registered domain to provide its members with e-mail. In time, the membership grew dissatisfied with the limitations of the service and began looking for a better solution.

Meeting in a post-WWII Quonset home in downtown Whitehorse in January 1994, three members of the NeXT User Group formulated a plan to set up the YukonNet Operating Society, which was officially registered shortly thereafter. Then began the hard work: seeking the funds to establish the Yukon's own Internet node. Thanks largely to fortuitous timing, federal and territorial financing began to trickle in.

In the spring of 1994, the first full Internet connection was established (albeit briefly) when a NeXTstation was configured using SLIP to dial to the University of British Columbia. In the fall of that year, STEPUP Technologies of Vancouver was contracted by the Society to configure Internet services on a NeXT Cube and HP 712/60 running NEXTSTEP version 3.2. The Cube was also configured as the Yukon's first web server, running CERN httpd, to demonstrate the potential of promoting Yukon tourism on the Internet.

Finally, in January 1995, a 56K land-line digital connection between Whitehorse (Yukon's capital) and Vancouver, provided by Northwestel, linked the Yukon servers to the rest of the world. It was a glorious moment for those Yukoners who had worked so hard to realize their dream.

In March 1995, YukonWeb began offering the first commercial web service in the Yukon, developing pages and scripts on a NeXT Cube using WebPages, WebWriter, and other NEXTSTEP tools.

YKnet Inc., the Yukon's premier Internet Service Provider, was created as a joint venture by the YukonNet Operating Society and Northwestel on January 15, 1996.

Since early 1997, Yukoners have had T1 access to the South thanks to a consortium formed by several agencies, businesses, and ISPs.


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