Re Confronting unfair and unequal treatment of internet users in the Yukon:
Why is it that we Yukoners (and other Northwestel and Northwestel cable-serviced northern residents), pay extra for internet usage?
Do you download from the internet or use Skype? Are you paying extra for this? As the Yukon’s only internet service provider, Northwestel has given us the option of three different levels of internet service. You can either pay a monthly fee of $39.95, $59.95 or $79.95 for home internet or pay a much higher monthly fee for using internet in businesses – $99.95 or $159.95 per month.
These high monthly fees come with limited internet use. Yes, you heard that correctly, limited. Did you know that?
In many parts of this country Canadians have unlimited internet access for only $29.99 or $39.99 or less per month, so why not in the North? Are we being treated unequally?
Check your phone bill to see if you have been charged for over-usage. You can find this on the front page of your phone bill under your ‘one time charges.’ Friends of mine have received internet over-usage charges of more than $600 in the course of one month.
As if that is not enough, this over-usage charge is billed about six weeks after the fact. So if you see it on your bill, you are already too late to correct your internet behaviour, as the next bill is in the making.
Why are we paying so much more? Ask Northwestel and they will tell you it is all to do with distance, keeping lines maintained and not enough people living in the North. I can understand that living in the North comes at a higher cost in many respects, but some of the bills I have seen are outrageous.
So what are we to do? Where to start? I contacted Northwestel, but they are unable to provide details on the over-usage charges. They cannot tell me which websites I would have visited that caused the bill to be so high. All Northwestel can tell me is that I downloaded a certain number of megabytes over the limit or that someone might be stealing my wireless signal.
I called the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and they told me that internet service is not regulated. They also told me that Northwestel has a cost-recovery problem. (Perhaps Northwestel is trying to recover those costs by charging unassuming customers high over-usage fees?)
CRTC recommended that I meet with our MP to discuss this over-usage fee. And that is exactly what my intentions are, but I would like to hear from you first. Please send me your experiences with over-usage internet charges from Northwestel. With your support I truly hope that talking to our MP will get us somewhere.