When Rem Ricks’ Navigo internet connection went out he assumed that it was a problem on his end.
But after a month of conflicting answers from technicians, and talking to other people with the same problem, he’s not so sure.
The former fisheries biologist lives in a house near Mount Sima where he works as the winter caretaker.
For the last four years, Ricks never had any major problems with his internet service.
“The odd time there was a problem that would last for half a day and then clear up, but overall it’s been a really good system,” said Ricks. “I’ve had this service for four years and I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
A month ago it started to malfunction. And for Ricks it’s been a month of frustration.
After suffering with “painfully slow” and intermittent internet access for a week, he called their help line.
He had to wait on hold for about 25 minutes but he finally got through to an actual person.
He was told that they were having problems but it would be fixed soon.
Another week went by with no improvement, so Ricks went down to the Northwestel retail store.
Navigo is owned by Northwestel.
The woman behind the counter gave him some suggestions.
He tried bypassing the router. He brought his modem in to be checked. Everything seemed to be working fine.
“I went back and forth three or four times,” he said.
Nothing seemed to help.
“To her credit, I really appreciated her efforts because she was the only person that was really trying to help me,” said Ricks. “She was clearly getting no support herself and was getting damn near as frustrated as I was towards the end there.”
While waiting in line at the retail store on one of his last visits, Ricks saw someone else with a Navigo modem.
He had the same problem and it started at the same time.
“He was pretty upset,” said Ricks.
The customer service agent told Ricks that there were several other people who recently had similar problems.
His neighbours at Mount Sima told him they had also lost their internet connection around the same time.
It took several unanswered calls and an intervention from his customer service guardian angel, but Ricks finally got through to a senior technician.
That technician told him that there was no problem with the internet but he would check into it.
“That was the last I heard from him,” said Ricks.
With his internet still not working Ricks didn’t give up.
With the help of some familial connections he appealed to some of the telco’s senior management.
They told him that it was because he was on the fringe of their service area.
That explanation didn’t ring true.
“I haven’t moved my house or my modem,” said Ricks. “It’s been sitting in exactly the same place for over four years and how can I be on the fringe all of a sudden?
“When I first bought it, they said as long as you have really good contact with the tower on Grey Mountain you’re in good shape and I can see the tower at the window and my modem is pointing directly at it.”
They told him his best bet was to check with Bell Canada to see if they could offer him something better.
“He gave me the website and the exact item I should be looking at,” he said. “He was actually very helpful, but I was like, ‘Why are you sending me to Bell?’”
He’s still waiting for his internet to be fixed, and in the meantime, as per their instructions, he’s investigating his options with other companies.
As this article went to press, Northwestel said that they had finally fixed the problem.
Contact Josh Kerr at