The Beaufort Delta’s New North Networks is offering unlimited internet packages in Inuvik and free internet for local students who don’t otherwise have access.
On Tuesday last week, New North announced two unlimited internet packages – one with 25 Mbps download speed and the other with a 50 Mbps download speed. Both packages have a 10 Mbps upload speed.
The first option costs $168 monthly, while the second costs $218. (New North’s cheapest option is $56 per month.)
Those prices may be a harbinger of what is to come from Northwestel, which expects to introduce its own unlimited plans for residents in the near future.
Northwestel is, in effect, already operating such plans for some customers in March, April, and May, having waived overage fees in some communities.
New North’s packages to this point have had a “soft cap” on data where, if the customer reaches their monthly limit, internet speed will slow down but overage fees are not charged. Those packages, which are cheaper, will continue to be available.
The company said the unlimited plans are the result of upgrading the bandwidth it gets from the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link, a relatively new fibre-optic link to Inuvik financed and owned by the NWT government.
“We can and do react quickly to the changing demands of our customers [and] will continue to adjust offerings to meet those demands,” said New North in a statement.
Free internet for students
The company said it will also support students learning from home during the pandemic.
In a partnership with the Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council (BDDEC) announced on Friday, New North will provide free internet to families identified by the school division so students can connect to school services. Meanwhile, BDDEC will purchase modems for those families.
“When New North contacted us and proposed this solution for our students who do not have access to internet, we were actually not aware that such a solution was even possible,” said Devin Robert’s BDDEC’s assistant superintendent, in a news release.
“We would like to thank New North for stepping up and providing this generous service to those in need.”
School closures lasting until the fall were announced across the NWT in March, a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic and fears about large indoor gatherings.
“As an internet service provider, we are very aware the internet has become an essential tool to communicate, work, entertain, and learn,” New North owner Tom Zubko said in the same news release.
“However, we also recognize connectivity may still be out of reach for some families and this should not limit learning opportunities.”