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Bell leaves fish farm on the hook

Icy Waters Ltd. has been without internet for almost a month. And Bell Canada can't figure out why. The local fish farm has been paying Bell for wireless internet service for the past five years.

Icy Waters Ltd. has been without internet for almost a month.

And Bell Canada can’t figure out why.

The local fish farm has been paying Bell for wireless internet service for the past five years.

“There’s only one Bell tower in the Yukon that I know of,” said fish farm manager Jonathan Lucas.

“And we are its only customer.”

Every year or so, since the fish farm signed the deal with Bell, service would cut out.

“I’d call Bell and they’d send a guy up to flick a switch on the tower and it would work again,” said Lucas.

So, a month ago, when service cut out again, Lucas didn’t think much of it.

He called Bell’s head office on the East Coast and reported the problem.

Bell reps told Lucas to check the modem at his end.

It was working.

But there was still no internet connection.

So Bell informed Lucas it would “escalate” his concerns.

A week later, Icy Waters was still without internet.

That’s when Bell told Lucas the wireless service from its tower on Haeckel Hill “was not supported.”

One representative also informed him Bell did not provide internet service in the Yukon.

“But I have been paying Bell for this service for five years,” said Lucas.

Another Bell rep admitted to Lucas the internet connection was “closed down because not enough people had signed up.”

Fed up with paying for a service that Bell wasn’t providing, Icy Water’s head office in Ontario called Bell to close its account.

“And then Bell got excited,” said Lucas.

Its customer service executive office called Lucas “and we went through all the things we went through three weeks ago,” when the internet stopped working, he said.

Then Bell came up with something new - Icy Waters internet was down because it wasn’t using “a local modem.”

“They said the modem we were using was for outside our area,” said Lucas.

“But it was Bell that sent us the modem in the first place, and it worked fine for five years.”

Bell promised to send the company a locally-serviced modem.

In the meantime, with no internet, Icy Waters had reverted to sending faxes and making pricey long-distance calls to keep in touch with its head office and its customers.

“So Northwestel is making a killing,” said Lucas.

This week, Lucas was waiting for the new “locally-serviced modem” to arrive when Bell called back.

Turns out the locally-serviced modem “couldn’t support the service they were offering, because the service provided by Bell’s tower is not supported,” Lucas was told.

“It’s farcical,” he said.

“I have been without internet for almost four weeks, and have been paying Bell for the service and they can’t fix the problem,” he said.

“It’s a joke.”

Lucas called Northwestel, a subsidiary of Bell, to see about a satellite internet connection, and techs set up a time to come out to see if the location would work.

“But they didn’t show up,” he said.

When he called back, Northwestel’s sales reps assured him he could get DSL service, so Lucas signed up.

A few hours later, Northwestel’s techs called back to tell Lucas it wouldn’t work.

Icy Waters is in Whitehorse city limits, just four kilometres from the Alaska Highway.

“We are in town, but can’t get internet,” he said.

Northwestel and Bell actually cross Lucas’ property to service their towers on Haeckel Hill.

“I can see the towers out my window,” he said.

Bell did not answer emails or phone queries by press time.

But this morning, without any notice, Icy Waters internet started working again.

“So after four weeks of telling us our service was not supported and we had the wrong modem, it is all suddenly started working,” said Lucas.

Icy Waters is still looking into getting internet service from Northwestel.

“Because if and when our internet goes off again, I don’t want to go through all this rigmarole,” said Lucas.

“At least Northwestel is just down the road.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at