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CRTC invites Canadians to help find solutions to improve telecommunications services in the Far North

Press Release

From: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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.

To facilitate participation, the CRTC has prepared a summary with key information that is available in Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Cree and Chipewyan.

The CRTC is welcoming comments until October 6, 2022. You can submit your comments by:

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.

Quotes

“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

Quick facts

  • 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.

Associated links

Contacts

Media Relations
819-997-9403

General Inquiries
819-997-0313
Toll-free 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)
TTY 819-994-0423

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