Telephone rates may rise

Northwestel is looking to raise rates. The telco has made an application to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission to charge $2 more a month for local telephone service.

Northwestel is looking to raise rates.

The telco has made an application to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission to charge $2 more a month for local telephone service.

The commission is currently reviewing Northwestel’s regulatory framework.

Northwestel also asking the commission for a $4.8-million increase in its annual subsidy, up to $25.6 million from $20.8 million.

“It’s the same old, same old,” said Roger Rondeau, president of the Utilities Consumer Group. “Northwestel wants to increase their profits and hike the rates to consumer but they don’t want to share the burden as usual.”

The rates been remained frozen for the past few years and Northwestel contends that raising the rates will bring it closer to the cost of providing service, while still being priced below cost.

Landline service is priced the same everywhere in the Yukon and this $2 change will help balance the difference between Whitehorse and the communities, said Northwestel spokesperson Emily Yonker.

“In more remote communities the cost of providing service is just astronomical,” she said.

To offset some of the increased cost, Northwestel is proposing a rate reduction for the cost of teleconferencing to $0.17 from $0.35.

“That seems like a small change, but in the North teleconferencing is used a lot by businesses and individuals in remote communities,” said Yonker.

The telco is also looking to the commission to fund a Service Improvement Plan to bring things like call display, voicemail and call waiting to 29 remote communities, more than five of which are in the Yukon.

Call display and call blocking features are “an issue of privacy,” said Yonker. “It’s so important especially for small communities where harassment can become an issue.”

The Service Improvement Plan is something even Rondeau and his organization support.

“It’s the only good part about their application that I’ve seen,” he said.

The Utilities Consumer Group has also made submissions to the regulator as part of the review.

One issue it wants to see resolved is the lack of internet regulation in the North.

The commission currently doesn’t regulate the internet at all.

“We want to see something done with the wholesale rates to small outfits in the Yukon,” said Rondeau.

The “stranglehold” that Northwestel has on the internet has resulted in a lack of competition, he said.

“Ten years ago we had three internet providers here, now we’ve got one,” said Rondeau.

The public can also make submissions to the commission on this issue until August 22.

On October 4, the commission will be holding a public hearing in Yellowknife. (Josh Kerr)

Just Posted

Yukoners turn out in droves for Skagway Marathon

More than half the 162-person field at the Alaska race calls the Yukon home

NGC withdraws lane closure application

Shorter period closures may be required

Support coordinator filling in ‘gaps’ in services for Yukon sexual assault victims

Reem Girgrah was hired as victim support coordinator for the Yukon’s SART in April

Cook Street property owners will face LIC

Road work is planned for 2020

Whitehorse fire chief fired

Mike Dine, who was hired in June 2018, was fired by the city on June 14.

Whitehorse fish ladder open for the season

Manager Brittany Key said there are low expectations for chinook salmon numbers

Strong results for Yukoners at B.C. triathlons

Athletes competed at the Subaru Ironman 70.3 Victoria and the Oliver Half Iron and Aquabike

Yukon woman found guilty of selling crack to undercover officer in 2017

Diana Johns’ lawyer says he’s planning on launching an entrapment application

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

Driving with Jens: Keeping pets safe in your vehicle

In my last column I discussed ways to avoid the tragedy which… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Whitehorse Troughbillies

Yukon could take its hot rocks to the bank

ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge spurs mountain bike races in Whitehorse

“I have to remind myself to do that sometimes – just slow down and look around.”

Whitehorse FC Premier U15 boys finish fourth despite injuries and short bench at Slurpee Cup

“They worked super hard and were more hungry for the win than the other team”

Most Read