A Northwestel satellite dish. The telecommunications company has made an urgent application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to waive internet overage fees for terrestrial-served communities in March and April in light of concerns about the spread of COVID-19. (Yukon News/file photo)

Northwestel applies to waive Internet overage fees in light of COVID-19 spread

Northwestel submitted an urgent application to the CRTC on March 16.

Northwestel has submitted an urgent application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to waive Internet overage charges for terrestrial-served communities in March and April in light of COVID-19.

The telecommunications company submitted the application March 16.

The change would impact most communities in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Alberta and northern British Columbia, Northwestel said in a press release the same day. Capacity is being augmented to accommodate the anticipated increase in use.

Health officials have recommended people practice “social isolation” in order to help stem the spread of the coronavirus that’s causing COVID-19. People who have travelled abroad and who begin experiencing symptoms like a fever, coughing or difficulty breathing are advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

For those communities serviced by satellite where it isn’t possible to increase capacity quickly, Northwestel has proposed a temporary doubling of Internet usage caps.

Old Crow is the only community in the Yukon and Fort Ware is the only community in northern B.C. on satellite service. In the Northwest Territories the communities include Colville Lake, Gameti, Lutselke, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Samba K’e, Ulukhaktok, and Wekweeti. And in Nunavut, those communities include Iqaluit, Arviat, Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet.

“The CRTC has previously acknowledged that Northwestel’s residential DSL Internet rates are significantly below its costs,” the press release says. “Northwestel’s proposal therefore includes the CRTC freezing the subsidy for telecommunications in northern high-cost serving areas at 2019 levels to ensure adequate funding for northern telecommunications in this critical period.”

Along with the temporary measures in light of COVID-19, Northwestel said it has also proposed an unlimited option in communities on cable service that would come into effect after the waiver, should CRTC approve it.

Northwestel spokesperson Andrew Anderson said details on that would be available if approval is granted and when packages are launched.

He referred questions about the urgent application and process for approval to the CRTC.

CRTC officials could not be reached by deadline to comment on the process and timeline for the application.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read