Northwestel says some people's internet bills will drop from $200 to $80, after federal funding

MP Michael McLeod announced more than $4.6 million of federal funding that will lower people's bills with Northwestel.

People in 8 communities in the Northwest Territories, and 1 in Yukon, are getting cheaper internet

MP Michael McLeod making announcement about $4.6 million in federal funding to help lower internet costs for some N.W.T. communities. (Brandon Maher/CBC)

People in eight N.W.T. communities and one in the Yukon will get cheaper internet, thanks to new federal funding announced Wednesday.

MP Michael McLeod announced more than $4.6 million from the federal government that will lower people's bills with Northwestel, the North's largest telecommunications service provider.

The money will be used to build fibre optic infrastructure in Jean Marie River, N.W.T., according to the announcement.

These communities will also see better service thanks to an extended satellite connection, which should bring people's bills down:

  • Colville Lake
  • Gameti
  • Lutselk'e
  • Paulatuk
  • Sachs Harbour
  • Sambaa K'e
  • Ulukhaktuk
  • Wekweeti
  • Old Crow, Yukon

Paul Gillard, vice-president of business markets for Northwestel, said the new money will help subsidize the high cost of internet.

"The highest speed package currently costs $200," said Gillard. "This announcement is going to allow us to reduce that price to $80." 

Gillard said the long term goal is to have easier internet access in all Northern communities, especially for other communities in the territory that are dealing with low quality access to internet.

"The CRTC has set this goal of 50 megabits per second down, 10 megabits per second up for all residents of Canada," said Gillard.

"This announcement today is a step toward that goal. More steps obviously need to be taken, but we're going to work with our government partners and the CRTC to pursue that long term goal."

Gillard said people's bills should go down by April 1, 2019.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story quoted Paul Gillard as saying the discount was 85 per cent. In fact, it's 60 per cent. The story also previously stated that 9 N.W.T. communities, including Jean Marie River, would receive cheaper internet. In fact, 8 N.W.T. communities will receive cheaper internet.
    May 17, 2018 12:45 PM CT

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