Federal regulators have ordered Northwestel to publish a new fair rate schedule for what it charges competing internet service providers for bandwidth before the new year.

The CRTC directive for competitive rates has been under appeal by Northwestel since it was ordered almost a year ago. This week, the federal regulators rejected all the company's arguments and ordered it to publish new competitive rates within 30 days.

Rick Steele, a technology expert, said Northwestel's prices are about 10 times the average.

"It's pretty well common knowledge that purchasing bandwidth from Northwestel for resale is, if not deal-breaking, pretty poisonous. It's seven to 10 times the national average."

Steele said the order is especially good news for customers in N.W.T. where private competitors are already doing business. Technology analyst Andrew Robulack said it will take time to see competition established in the Yukon.

A Northwestel spokesperson said the company plans to comply with the CRTC ruling but has no further comment.