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CRTC seeks clarification over Northwestel’s unlimited plans


Telecoms regulator the CRTC has asked Northwestel to explain part of the company’s plan for unlimited data packages in more detail.

Northwestel last week received $62 million from a new CRTC broadband fund to make improvements to northern internet. The company says that work will give a quarter of NWT and Yukon residents access to unlimited plans, which don’t currently exist.

Northwestel – which is dominant in northern Canada’s internet market – has stated it hopes to offer unlimited internet to most northerners in the next three years.

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However, when Northwestel recently ended its pandemic-related waiver of overage fees, almost 50 northern residents wrote to the CRTC with concerns.

Many asked why unlimited internet wasn’t already available, particularly as Northwestel had been able to swiftly offer it in some communities from March to June as a pandemic relief measure. (Northwestel has since replaced that relief measure with extra monthly data on most users’ plans, at no additional cost.)

The CRTC now wants Northwestel to explain more about some aspects of its plan to eventually roll out unlimited data.

In a letter to Northwestel on Monday, the regulator asked for more information about planned upgrades in five communities that already have some of the North’s highest speeds.

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The CRTC also asked Northwestel for an “anticipated timeframe by which consumers can expect to have access to the unlimited data options.”

Northwestel has until August 28 to respond.

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