Northwestel says it’s ready for the future

Northwestel may soon be facing some increased competition thanks to a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that stripped the company of its monopoly in local phone service.

Northwestel may soon be facing some increased competition thanks to a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that stripped the company of its monopoly in local phone service.

But it’s a challenge that the company is ready for, said Northwestel president and CEO Paul Flaherty, pointing out the company already faces competition in unregulated services like internet and cell phones.

“We could also see the probability that we were going to enter a more competitive market place,” said Flaherty.

“Over the last month and a half we’ve been talking a lot with our employees about how Northwestel needs to change and how we have to become much more customer focused.

“It’s largely about our customers and how we can earn their trust in every interaction that we have with them.”

In its decision, the CRTC took Northwestel to task for the age of its local phone switches and a lack of infrastructure investment.

That part of the decision was “quite perplexing” and “disappointing,” said Flaherty.

“We’ve invested $435 million over the last 10 years and to our way of thinking that’s very significant,” he said.

While some of the switches are old, all of them are functional and continue to meet the service requirements, said Flaherty.

“There’s no question we have some older equipment but we manage it and maintain it and if it gets to a point where it’s not reliable we replace it,” he said.

In the last 10 years, Northwestel had asked the CRTC for funding for modernization programs four times and four times the commission rejected those requests.

“Even in the decision the CRTC said that we were investing similarly to other telephone companies, but then on the next hand they said but we’re under investing,” said Flaherty. “It’s a question there of what’s an appropriate level of investment that we will have to bear on our own.”

Right now the Northwestel is still weighing its options and has yet to decide if it will file a formal appeal with the commission.

“There’s a wide variety of options you can choose at this point we’re still contemplating which path we may take,” said Flaherty.

Contact Josh Kerr at

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

Just Posted

Connie Peggy Thorn, 52, pleaded guilty Jan. 27 to manslaughter in the 2017 death of Greg Dawson. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Greg Dawson

Connie Thorn, 52, was arrested in October 2019 and pleaded guilty in Supreme Court on Jan. 27.

Abigail Jirousek, left, is tailed by Brian Horton while climbing a hill during the Cross Country Yukon January Classic in Whitehorse on Jan. 23. Jirousek finished second in the U16 girls category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Cross Country Yukon hosts classic race

Cross Country Yukon hosted a classic technique cross-country ski race on Jan.… Continue reading

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. The Yukon government said Jan. 25 that it is disappointed in a decision by the federal government to send the Kudz Ze Kayah mining project back to the drawing board. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Territorial and federal governments at odds over Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

The federal government, backed by Liard First Nation, sent the proposal back to the screening stage


Wyatt’s World for Jan. 27, 2021

Yukon RCMP said in a press release that they are seeing an increase in tinted front passenger windows and are reminding people that it is illegal and potentially dangerous. (RCMP handout)
RCMP warn against upward trend of tinted windows

Yukon RCMP are seeing more vehicles with tinted front passenger windows, prompting… Continue reading

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man facing two tickets violating the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em>. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Arrest warrant issued for CEMA violation

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ansh Dhawan over two tickets for violating CEMA

The office space at 151 Industrial Road in Marwell. At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members voted to sign off on the conditional use approval so Unit 6 at 151 Industrial Rd. can be used for office space. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Marwell move set for land and building services staff

Conditional use, lease approved for office space

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

Most Read