CRTC opens consultation on telecom service in the North

Originally published by The Wire Report

The CRTC Monday announced a consultation on the state of telecommunications in the North, and is in particular seeking input on the service offered by BCE Inc. subsidiary Northwestel.

The consultation, according to a release from the regulator, is seeking comments on the affordability, quality, and speed of internet services, as well as mobile coverage and reliability in the north. The commission is also seeking input on ways to promote competition in the North.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the digital divide between Canada’s North and South,” CRTC chairperson Ian Scott said in the release. “We would like to hear from northern Canadians about their experiences related to telecommunications services so we can help bridge the divide and ensure that they have high-quality services at affordable prices.”

Northwestel offers the vast majority of services to those living in the North, and earlier this year the CRTC found that the elimination of a local service subsidy would “ultimately result in a material shortfall for Northwestel, potentially resulting in rates that are no longer just and reasonable for Northwestel’s residential local voice services.”

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