Businesses offered Internet with fewer fees

Mid Arctic Technology Services is eyeing some of NorthweTel's biggest Internet customers. The company has announced new plans for high volume users that do away with usage caps and overage charges.

Mid Arctic Technology Services is eyeing some of NorthweTel’s biggest Internet customers.

The company has announced new plans for high volume users that do away with usage caps and overage charges.

Some of the biggest Internet users could save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, said Chris May, Mid Arctic’s president.

“More than likely, we’re going to end up probably taking the Mid Arctic option, or seriously reviewing it,” said Philip Fitzgerald, chief financial officer of Northern Vision Development.

With three hotels and a corporate office in Whitehorse, the new packages would allow the business to consolidate services and bring certainty to its Internet costs, he said.

“For hotels, specifically, we have some very busy times of year, with some of the conferences, etc. It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going on. So to be able to have a fixed price for an expense is something that we’re always looking into and see as very beneficial.”

One of the big benefits of the new offerings is that will allow real connectivity for businesses with offices outside of the Yukon, said May.

Videoconferencing could occur around the clock without worrying about Internet usage limits, he said.

He recently visited an company in Ottawa that had a break room with a live stream to the break room of another office in another province, he said.

“So their staff interconnect, ‘Oh hey Joe, how’s it going?’ Sort of like walking by a window. It’s great. That’s one of the more frivolous things you could do with it, but there are also very critical things you could do with it. You couldn’t do that here because you would get overage charges for transmitting that video constantly.”

When purchasing Internet packages, businesses must consider both bandwidth and usage requirements.

Bandwidth is comparable to the width of a pipe that brings water into a building, said May.

If you use the same size of pipe at a hotel as you would at home, you’re going to have a problem, he said.

But under NorthwesTel’s current plans, you not only pay more for a bigger pipe, but there’s a limit on how much water, or data, you can pull in before you start incurring overage charges.

With Mid Arctic’s plans, you would still pay more for higher bandwidth, or a bigger pipe, but you can pull as much data through that pipe as you want.

“You can leave the tap on,” said May.

A typical high-usage business customer might require 10 mbps of bandwidth, said May.

For that, they would pay between $4,012 and $6,269 monthly under NorthwesTel’s plans, according to pricing sent to Mid Arctic, current as of August 7.

The base rate depends on whether the business has an extended contract with NorthwesTel.

But overage charges could run up to $11,718 monthly on top of that, according to May’s calculations, based on the rates sent by NorthwesTel.

Mid Arctic’s rate for 10 Mbps is $4,185, and there is no worry of accumulating overage.

The deal has been made possible through a partnership with SSi Micro, an Internet service provider based in Yellowknife.

SSi Micro will purchase access to NorthwesTel’s fibre network and pipe Internet up to Mid Arctic’s main data centre in downtown Whitehorse.

From there, businesses will be connected either by fibre line or microwave. For that reason, only Whitehorse businesses can access the service.

Installation costs will likely cost the equivalent of two monthly bills, said May. That could be three times what upfront costs would be with NorthwesTel, he said.

NorthwesTel does not comment on competitor’s offerings, but offered the following statement:

“NorthwesTel recently launched new Internet packages for business customers, which include reduced rates and increased bandwidth. We also developed a fibre-based service that provides much higher bandwidth and upload speeds to make sure larger businesses, such as hotels, are able to provide the best Internet experience to their end users. Finally, NorthwesTel will be making more announcements this fall about new services with substantially faster speeds and increased bandwidth.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at