Northwestel to spend $5 million over the next seven years after a settlement with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for making unapproved charges. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Northwestel breach of CRTC regulation results in $5 million settlement

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said the breach was “serious.”

Northwestel did not receive the stamp of approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) before charging for services.

The telecommunications company, which services the North, conceded to the federal agency that it wasn’t compliant with regulations, says a press release, resulting in a $5 million settlement to be spent by Northwestel over seven years.

The announcement was made on June 12.

Northwestel found nine instances over a seven-year period where rates were charged for services other than approved tariffs, says the CRTC via its website, noting that the company “requested ratification of the charging of those rates.”

The commission denied the application, it says, “and determined that the non-compliance represented a systemic disregard for the company’s regulatory obligations and the Commission’s authority.”

The breach, the CRTC says, was “serious.”

“Northwestel has hundreds of regulated services and we take our regulatory obligations seriously,” said Curtis Shaw, president of Northwestel, in a written statement. “When we found issues with 9 commercial contract rates for large customers, we voluntarily reported them to the CRTC and worked to resolve them. We look forward to working with our partners on the projects we have put forward to build a stronger, more connected Northern Canada.”

According to CRTC press release, $3 million will go towards bringing fibre lines to “First Nation offices, schools, health centres and government offices in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia.”

Remaining money, it says, will expand cellphone service along roadways in the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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