Northwestel modernization plan represents great opportunity for northerners

Northwestel modernization plan represents great opportunity for northerners Last month, Northwestel unveiled a five-year modernization plan that certain competitors have been keen to criticize. But any suggestion that the plan somehow fails to deliver ad

Last month, Northwestel unveiled a five-year modernization plan that certain competitors have been keen to criticize. But any suggestion that the plan somehow fails to deliver advanced communications services to the North is not only misleading, it’s just plain wrong.

The reality is that Northwestel’s $270-million plan represents the largest and most comprehensive investment in communications services and infrastructure ever developed for this region. In fact, the plan is specifically designed to benefit all communities in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as several in northern British Columbia.

Consumers and businesses in 96 communities across the North will receive access to the services they want, including next-generation 3G/4G wireless and wireless broadband services, the ability to use the latest handsets, smartphones and tablets, and high-speed Internet (with a minimum of 5 Mbps download speeds, even in the smallest hamlet).

For the vast majority of northern communities, these capabilities simply do not exist today.

Our modernization plan will change that, without raising prices.

Our competitors will benefit from our new plan as well. They will have greater access to our network infrastructure through services like Wholesale Connect, which will be expanded from 30 to 57 communities. Competitors will also benefit from the improvements we will make to our networks, including the ability to provide Local Number Portability in every community, enabling customers to keep their existing telephone numbers even if they change service providers.

And to those who suggest that it’s wrong to direct $40 million from the Public Benefits Fund, money set aside from BCE’s purchase of Astral Media to ensure broadband access across the North, the simple truth is that this represents a tremendous opportunity for northerners – and indeed for all Canadians, who will be connected with the North as never before – that is absolutely worth supporting. The $40 million will help ensure all northerners have access to next-generation services even in communities where the costs to provide those services are uneconomic because of their remote location and small population. One of Northwestel’s competitors asks whether our modernization plan is “too good to be true.” We think the better question to ask is: How can northerners help make something this good become a reality?

Like our plan, we believe the answer is very straightforward – take every available opportunity to voice your support. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will ultimately decide whether or not the plan will proceed. Let’s do our best to ensure that decision is the right one. Detailed instructions on how to submit comments to the CRTC can be found here: http://www.nwtel.ca/media/documents/PressReleases/how_to_file.pdf.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Paul Flaherty

President and CEO

NorthwesTel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building