In the 1990s a handful of Internet start-ups duked it out for dominance of the Yukon’s online market. How did Northwestel come out on top?
BY JACQUELINE RONSON | ILLUSTRATION BY GRAHAM ROUMIEU
It’s 1997. A handful of Internet service providers are jockeying to gain a foothold in the Yukon’s infant dial-up market. In an unregulated marketplace, there are no holds barred. “It really was the Wild West, back in the day. It was crazy Wild West,” says Andrew Robulack, a technology consultant based in Whitehorse. In the late ‘90s he worked for a company called Hypertech North, which later changed its name to Internet Yukon. “It was a constant gun show,” he says. One day his boss, Clay Perrault, hatched a plan to take over one of the biggest ISPs in town. “He walked in the office and he’s like, ‘We’re going to take over YKnet.’”