North

Unlimited internet to come to 7 communities by Nov. 1: Northwestel

Once approved for the service, Northwestel says it will start taking customer orders on unlimited packages, which will be available on Nov. 1.

Some northern B.C., Yukon and N.W.T. communities will get the option

A Northwestel dish in Yellowknife. The company said it's written to the CRTC confirming that it intends to launch the unlimited internet packages for its residential and business clients in seven communities by Nov. 1. (Chantal Dubuc/CBC)

The North's largest telecommunications provider says unlimited internet is coming to seven communities on Nov. 1, according to a press release Sunday.

Northwestel said it's written to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) confirming that it intends to launch the unlimited internet packages for its residential and business clients in seven communities connected by cable and fibre internet.

Those communities are: 

  • Whitehorse
  • Carcross, Yukon
  • Yellowknife
  • Hay River, N.W.T.
  • Fort Smith, N.W.T.
  • Norman Wells, N.W.T.
  • Fort Nelson, B.C. 

Northwestel says it will implement necessary system changes "to permanently accommodate unlimited options in the coming months."

Northwestel says it will submit tariff applications to the CRTC with more information like rates for the new packages. Once approved for the service, the company says it will start taking customer orders on the unlimited packages, which will be available on Nov. 1, the news release states.

"The internet plays such an important role in everyday life, especially with the unprecedented year we've been having," said Northwestel president Curtis Shaw, in the news release.

"We're excited to be taking this first step toward our vision of unlimited Internet across the North." 

'It will be amazing': Yukoner

Yukon resident Daniel Sokolov, who called for an unlimited data option in an intervention he filed on Northwestel's application earlier this year, said this is great news as long as it's affordable.

"It will be amazing for businesses," he said. "For example, if you're in the tourism business and you're a bed and breakfast or a restaurant, your guests just expect to go online."

"You don't have Wi-Fi, you disappoint your guests, or you have Wi-Fi, it can get extremely expensive because of overage fees," he said. He said the company needs to make a number of other changes to make their internet billing fair and reasonable.

Sokolov added that this announcement does nothing for customers still on DSL who can have extremely large bills for internet service.

Northwestel said in its press release that it's committed to making the download speed of 50 megabits per second and upload speed of 10 megabits per second — with the unlimited data option — available for every Yukon and N.W.T. community.

"Cable and fibre-to-the-home communities will meet or exceed this standard by Nov. 1, with DSL and satellite-served communities following over the next three years," states the news release.

With files from Dave Croft

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