Telecom - Commission letter addressed to Mr. Stan Thompson (Northwestel Inc.)
Ottawa, 18 March 2020
Our reference: 8000-N1-202001519
Mr. Stan Thompson
Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President
301 Lambert Street,
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 4Y4
Re: Nortwestel Inc. Tariff Notice 1074 – Residential Internet in Response to COVID-19 and Part 1 Application Seeking Relief to All Residential Internet Customers in Response to COVID-19
Dear Mr. Thompson:
On 17 March 2020, the Commission received two submissions from Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel).
The first submission is Tariff Notice 1074 – Residential Internet in Response to COVID-19. This tariff notice proposes to waive data overage charges for the months of March and April 2020 to provide some financial relief to Northwestel customers who may use more data as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Waiving overage charges in response to COVID-19 is consistent with measures proposed and implemented by other major ISPs across Canada.
The second submission is a Part 1 application relating to residential Internet service. This application raises a number of complex regulatory costing and policy issues and seeks inter alia to:
- restore the local subsidy that the Commission previously determined would be phased out;
- fund the restored subsidy from the National Contribution Fund; and
- introduce, as of May 1 2020, a new fixed rate Unlimited Data Option for certain residential Internet customers.
Northwestel advances a number of arguments in support of its application that raise notably the very issues the Commission has stated it intends to address in an upcoming proceeding.
Northwestel, however, made its willingness to proceed with the tariff amendments set out in Tariff Notice 1074 conditional on the Commission restoring the local subsidy which would have the effect of the Commission prematurely reconsidering its determinations on local subsidy prior to receiving the submissions of other parties in an upcoming proceeding on that same issue.
Given the nature of the issues raised in its Part 1 application, in addition to the challenges associated with participating in regulatory proceedings during this unique time of crisis, Northwestel is requested to re-file amendments to its existing internet tariff without preconditions, so that the Commission may give this important initiative its immediate consideration.
Original signed by
- Date modified: