The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission has approved Northwestel’s application to waive overage fees for cable internet customers for March and April. (Yukon News file photo)

UPDATED: Northwestel waives internet overage fees, increases monthly caps after CRTC application approved

Customers on cable internet, including Whitehorse, will have overage fees waived for March and April

Northwestel is waiving overage fees in March and April for residential customers with cable internet across the North, including Whitehorse and Carcross.

Other communities will see 50 per cent, 100 per cent or 100 GB of additional monthly usage during the same time period.

The telecommunications company announced the changes, effective immediately, in a press release shortly before 5:30 p.m. on March 23.

“These measures are part of Northwestel’s COVID-19 response to facilitate increased telework across the North,” the press release says.

“…Customers do not need to take any action to receive this temporary benefit, which will be applied automatically to customer bills.”

Residential customers in seven communities in the Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Alberta served by cable internet will have their overage fees waived. The Yukon communities covered by this are Whitehorse and Carcross.

Meanwhile, Nunavut satellite DSL customers will see a 100 per cent monthly usage increase and satellite DSL customers (in the Yukon, Old Crow) will see a 50 per cent monthly usage increase.

All other customers serviced by terrestrial DSL, which include Yukon communities not already mentioned, will get an additional 100 GB a month for March and April.

In an email, Northwestel spokesperson Matt Wallace said different communities are getting different relief measures based on what network access technology is available.

“Simply put, our cable infrastructure has the capacity to support an increase in traffic resulting from the temporary waiving of overage fees, while terrestrial and satellite-based DSL facilities would not without significant upgrades,” he wrote.

The change comes after Northwestel submitted an urgent application to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an independent public authority that regulates and supervises Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications, on March 16. The company had to re-submit the application later that week after the CRTC determined the original application had made the waiving of overage fees conditional on the restoration of a local subsidy the CRTC is phasing out.

Northwestel, due to its dominance in the northern telecommunications market, is federally regulated and has to receive the approval of the CRTC before making any changes to its pricing structures.

A full list of northern communities and what relief they’re eligible for is available on Northwestel’s website.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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