Northwestel boosts bandwidth caps

In the last few months, Rich Thompson's internet bills jumped thousands of dollars. "It was out of the blue," said the CEO of Northern Vision, who runs the High Country Inn and the Gold Rush Inn.

In the last few months, Rich Thompson’s internet bills jumped thousands of dollars.

“It was out of the blue,” said the CEO of Northern Vision, who runs the High Country Inn and the Gold Rush Inn.

Thompson, unable to decipher the reason for the tenfold spike in billing, called Northwestel.

Within weeks, the telco did an aboutface.

Northwestel “took it seriously,” said Thompson.

The high bills resulted from the company’s database picking up something it hadn’t been billing the hotelier for to date.

“They’re allowed to bill us for it,” he said.

But compared to other internet programs across the country, “It’s really unfair and inappropriate for hotels.”

When Thompson showed Northwestel statistics from the rest of Canada, the company agreed to waive the excess charges, for now.

That “would allow Northwestel to reassess the package they could make available to us,” he said.

The company also plans to come up with a whole new package “that would make a lot more sense to us, and be a lot more in keeping with the style of billing that hotels across the country are used to,” said Thompson.

Just days after Thompson confronted Northwestel about his exorbitant bills, the company issued a news release announcing it had rejigged its internet packages for Yukoners.

The company is increasing download speeds and usage allowances for some customers.

The sudden changes are “not directly related” to Thompson’s complaints, said Northwestel spokesperson Sunny Patch.

But last week, when asked about raising the cap on internet use, Northwestel told the News, it’s a business and has to pay back its investors. The telco is a subsidiary of Bell Canada.

Northwestel can’t just give internet away, said spokesperson Anne Kennedy at the time.

Patch could not explain why the company suddenly decided to increase internet-usage allowances less than a week later.

“We want to improve the service we offer our customers,” she said.

Thompson would also like to see internet quality improve, especially since he’s paying premium rates.

“Their big issue on service quality is they lack redundancy on the fibre-optic cable out from the Yukon,” he said.

But that should improve within the year, said Patch.

The company is currently linking Fort Nelson with Hay River, so service disruptions can be rerouted, she said.

And the company has also completed a microwave relay system to redirect traffic if the cable is cut.

“This allows service to continue, but at a degraded level,” she said.

Northwestel has two new packages, the high speed extreme and the business extreme cable that will give customers faster download and upload speeds and a higher usage allowance.

Higher download speeds are also being introduced for the business performance cable internet and the business ultra DSL internet packages. And usage allowances are increasing 50 per cent for the classic, ultra, business classic and business ultra DSL internet packages at no extra cost.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

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

Just Posted

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read