Northwestel scales back northern telecommunications plan
Company says it will still deliver modernized services it originally promised
Northwestel has revised its five-year-plan for upgrading telecommunications across the North.
The company is proposing to invest $233 million — $40 million less than it had proposed in an earlier plan.
But Northwestel says the modernized services it promised last year can still be delivered.
Northwestel president Paul Flaherty says many of the promised upgrades have already been installed in larger centres.
"We have the latest generation of cell service LTE available here in Whitehorse today, we have a 50 megabit per second internet service here today. So by and large, a community like Whitehorse is very, very comparable to what exists elsewhere," said Flaherty.
"In some of the smaller communities, particularly if you talk about calling features, there still remain 26 communities out of 96 in the North that don't have those, and the challenge has always been in the North to make that economic. This plan does include those."
Flaherty is promising internet speeds at least twice as fast as they are now.
He says wireless services for the latest smartphones and tablets will also be available in virtually every northern community.
Northwestel was forced to revise its plan after regulators at the CRTC rejected a proposal from its parent company, Bell Canada.
The latest plan was submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission this week.