Yukoners are being invited to submit their thoughts on Internet and home phone services in the Far North.
In a June 8 release, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has opened up the second phase of consulting people on what actions it should take to make telecommunications services better in the most northern parts of the country.
The areas in question cover the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, 17 communities in northern British Columbia and Fort Fitzgerald, Alta. In total, it includes 96 communities that make up an estimated 132,800 residents or 0.3 per cent of the population in Canada.
People living in those areas told the CRTC during the first phase of the consultation process that everyone in the country should have affordable access to phone and Internet services; services should be reliable and allow for the same online activities as those available in southern Canada; northerners want more competition with respect to their Internet services; and high quality and affordable access to phone and Internet services is important for reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians.
The second part of the consultation process seeks to obtain information on what actions the CRTC should take to make home phone and Internet services in the Far North more affordable, more reliable, more competitive and to better support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
The Far North is a vast geographic area with low population density and mostly rural or remote communities, including many that are fly-in only, as well as permafrost and extreme weather conditions.
Northwestel Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Canada, which is in turn wholly-owned by BCE Inc. It is the primary telecommunications service provider for the majority of the Far North. For many communities, Northwestel is the only option.
Bell Mobility, another Bell Canada-owned company, holds market power in the provision of mobile wireless services in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Comments can be made through the CRTC online consultation platform; by filling out an online form; by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2; or sending a fax to 819-994-0218.
All comments will be made public.
The CRTC will be holding a public hearing on the matter, starting on April 17, 2023 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse.
The deadline to take part is Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com