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Economy

Northwestel applies to extend overage relief to end of June


Northwestel has applied to extend its overage fee relief and additional data measures until the end of June 2020.

The northern telecoms provider, which holds an effective monopoly in much of the market, has been waiving overages in some NWT communities and raising data caps in others as people work or study from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The extension requires approval from federal regulator the CRTC, which is expected to be a formality.

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A letter filed to the CRTC by Northwestel suggests the measures for June will be the same as those in March, April, and May.

“We are proposing to extend the current short-term promotion to waive all terrestrial residential internet data usage charges for all of our residential cable and fibre-to-the-premises internet packages,” chief financial officer Stan Thompson wrote.

Thompson said Northwestel would also continue to provide “an additional 100 GB of data usage on top of the existing internet monthly data usage allowance for all of our residential DSL internet packages for an additional month, to 30 June 2020.”

That means Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River, and Norman Wells residents will have their overage fees waived for June.

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The company confirmed its application to the CRTC in a tweet, in which it stated: “Northwestel has applied to extend its temporary internet usage relief measures for residential customers until June 30, 2020. This extension is subject to regulatory approval.”

Many residents of the NWT are working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, pushing their ordinary home data packages well beyond their limit.

Northwestel is understood to be on the verge of introducing unlimited home data plans for the territory, but such an option does not presently exist.

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