CRTC invites Canadians to help find solutions to improve telecommunications services in the Far North
CRTC launches next phase of public consultation about telecommunications services in the Far North
June 8, 2022 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
The CRTC is now inviting comments on what actions it should take to improve telecommunications services in the Far North. This area includes the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, communities in northern British Columbia, and Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta.
During the first phase of the consultation, residents of the Far North told us that everyone living in Canada should have affordable access to telecommunications services that are reliable and that allow for the same online activities as those available in the South, such as video conferencing. The comments received as well as the data collected through public opinion research allowed the CRTC to narrow the scope of issues it should address in the next phase.
In the second phase of the consultation, which launched today, the CRTC is seeking information on what actions it should take to make home phone and Internet services in the Far North:
- more affordable;
- more reliable;
- more competitive, and
- to better support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
The CRTC is welcoming comments until October 6, 2022. You can submit your comments by:
- engaging in the CRTC online consultation platform;
- filling out the online form;
- writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2; or
- sending a fax to 819-994-0218.
All comments submitted will form part of the public record and will inform the CRTC’s decision.
The CRTC will hold an in-person hearing on April 17th, 2023, at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, in Whitehorse, Yukon. It will also be possible for parties to participate remotely.
“Geography has played a significant role in the telecommunications options available to consumers in Canada. We need to collaborate with people living and working in the Far North to ensure they have a similar level of service as the South. We want to hear from all Canadians, and especially from Indigenous Peoples in the Far North. This is your chance to tell us about the particular needs for broadband Internet and telephone services in your community.”
Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
The CRTC is seeking to improve telecommunications services in the Far North, an area with an estimated population of 132,800 residents in 96 communities of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Yukon, communities in northern British Columbia, and Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta, which extends approximately 3,500 kilometers from east to west, and covers nearly 40% of Canada's land mass.
Northwestel is the primary service provider in the Far North and in some places, the only service provider. Consequently, the CRTC regulates its retail rates for local telephone and terrestrial broadband Internet services.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRTC has approved various applications submitted by Northwestel to provide relief to their customers by temporarily waiving data overage fees for some of their services and increasing usage caps across a range of broadband Internet packages.
The CRTC approved Northwestel’s application to offer unlimited data on certain residential and business plans.
The CRTC has other initiatives in place to address Canada’s digital divide, including the Broadband Fund, which has provided Northwestel with funding for four projects to improve broadband Internet services in 46 communities in the Far North.
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2022-147
- Consultation about telecommunications services in Northern Canada
- Call for comments – Review of the Commission’s regulatory framework for Northwestel Inc. and the state of telecommunications services in Canada’s North
- Broadband Fund – Closing the digital divide in Canada
- CRTC Broadband Fund selected projects
- Telecom Order CRTC 2022-16 - Northwestel Inc. – Tariff Notice 1099 and Tariff Notice 1122, Terrestrial Internet Services
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2020-40 - Review of the price cap and local forbearance regimes
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-213 - Phase-out of the local service subsidy regime
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496 - Modern telecommunications services – The path forward for Canada’s digital economy
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-711 - Northwestel Inc. – Regulatory Framework, Modernization Plan, and related matters
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