Northwestel takes a firmer grip on local internet

Yknet is changing hands. Over the next three months, Polargroup will drop the lines on its Yknet internet operations. Northwestel will take over.

Yknet is changing hands.

Over the next three months, Polargroup will drop the lines on its Yknet internet operations.

Northwestel will take over.

“I am deeply appreciative of the support shown by my customers in choosing Yknet as their internet service provider and wish to assure them that I have their needs in mind as I close this part of the business,” said Polargroup operations manager Gerry Angel in a release.

Angel’s statement did not say why he was giving up Yknet.

But Meadia Solutions-owner Trevor Mead-Robins had a hunch about what was going on.

 “I don’t know how local internet service providers can compete with the pricing structure and packages that Northwestel is offering,” he said on Wednesday.

“Northwestel’s very smart and very aggressive. And it’s very difficult to compete with — I just don’t see it as a level playing field for the other internet services providers, like WHTV and Polarcom.

“They’re both very good companies doing the best they can in an unfair situation.”

All internet service providers lease bandwidth from Northwestel.

It has a monopoly, said Mead-Robins.

Northwestel also charges its clients extra if they exceed an allotted monthly limit.

“And the price Polarcom and WHTV pay for leasing that extra bandwidth is more than you, as a Northwestel consumer, would pay,” he said.

So Polarcom, which rents bandwidth from Northwestel, ends up paying more than its customers pay once its usage exceeds an allotted monthly bandwidth limit, he said.

“They’re actually losing money for every megabyte that’s downloaded over the limit.”

Northwestel’s monopoly makes it very difficult for smaller companies to compete, said Mead-Robins.

Polargroup is recommending its customers choose Northwestel as their new service provider.

“Northwestel’s high-speed internet service is extremely similar to the offering provided by Yknet,” said Angel.

And the telco is offering Yknet customers who migrate to Northwestel’s high speed internet service a free self-installation kit, as well as two months of free service.

Yknet is offering free transition support.

Customers who choose Northwestel as their new provider should call Yknet at 668-2546 by February 10, 2007.

Polargroup will continue to focus on information technology services, web design, educational services, software development and computer retail and maintenance services.

THE LEGISLATURE

McRobb no playboy

Apparently, a new cook is going to be serving highway workers something hot at Blanchard River.

Applications for a cook’s job at the government highway camp had to be delivered to Whitehorse’s Adult Warehouse, a store specializing in naughty videos, crotchless panties, sex toys and, apparently, resumes.

But someone objected to having to go to a privately owned sex shop to apply for a job in a government-owned facility.

Apparently the owner of the store also owns Rupert’s Catering, which has the contract for the highway camp’s food preparation.

The situation provoked a sordid rant from Kluane MLA Gary McRobb.

“Just what is this Highways and Public Works minister up to?” asked McRobb. “Does he believe it is proper to require our citizens to go looking in a sex shop for a job at a government facility?

“I am concerned about where this might lead our society. Let’s take stock of what has happened on our streets so far under this government’s watch.

“Early on, the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang moved here. Soon after, the first gang-related murder occurred. Crack houses overwhelm neighbourhoods. Then we heard about homeless teens and couch surfing. More recently, we heard about trading sex for rides.

“Grow operations were uncovered in a modern residential area. New dangerous street drugs such as crystal meth and ecstasy appeared. Citizens formed vigilante squads to chase drug dealers from local bars.

“Why is this government contributing to this moral decay by sanctioning the use of a sex shop as an employment office?”

McRobb’s tirade won him a quick rebuke from house speaker Ted Staffen, and then a sharp dismissal from Premier Dennis Fentie.

“I would not want to subject any minister of this government to having to stand and dignify this kind of a question with an answer,” said Fentie.

“There is no answer to this question, because it is absolute rubbish and has no place in this institution and the station of office that we all hold.”

See related letters on page 8. (TQ)