Navigo is no more

Navigo Broadband is closing up shop. The wireless internet service isn't just shutting down in Whitehorse but right across the country.

Navigo Broadband is closing up shop.

The wireless internet service isn’t just shutting down in Whitehorse but right across the country.

“All the products that run on that network are being disconnected,” said Emily Younker, the manager of corporate communications for Northwestel, which sells the Navigo product line.

“Basically the technology behind the Navigo service is old technology and it’s unable to meet the requirements of our customers effectively.”

Navigo is a portable WiMAX wireless broadband service.

The network it runs on is owned by Inukshuk Wireless, a joint venture between Rogers Communications and Bell Canada. It was launched in 2006.

Both companies have announced that they’ll be discontinuing the service next year to focus on their 3G and 4G cellular mobile broadband networks.

The approximately 200 Navigo customers in Whitehorse have until Jan. 31 to switch to another service.

“We are working with each customer to ensure that they still have internet,” said Younker.

The company has already helped more than 50 customers switch to another provider, she added.

Rem Ricks had his Navigo system replaced six weeks ago.

Last summer Ricks had nothing but trouble with his Navigo system. It took more than a month for Northwestel to sort out what the problem was – interference from a Bell cellular tower.

But in the last two months, the new system has been working pretty well, said Ricks.

“It’s had the odd little glitch, at certain times of the day it slows down bit, but it’s been working very well,” he said.

That was good news for Mt. Sima.

The Ski Hill still has a Navigo system but is in the process of changing over.

“Northwestel has been very good with us in offering alternatives,” said general manager Parker Hickey. “I believe it’s going to be a 3G system, which is apparently faster and more reliable.

“If that’s the case I’m quite pleased.”

Debit and credit card processing are all done over the internet so a reliable connection is essential to Mt. Sima’s operations, he said.

“I don’t see how you could run a business without the internet, especially a service industry like us,” said Hickey.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com