Telecommunications in the Far North – Responses to Online Survey

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The data presented in this report is auto-generated by Bang the Table, a public engagement software contracted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The data contained on this page covers 84 submissions made to an online survey on Internet and other telecommunications services in the Far North. The survey was made available on the CRTC Conversations website from June 8, 2022 to October 6, 2022.

Survey questions

Survey Results

Question 1: Do you live in the Far North?

Figure 1 – Participants living in the Far North

A pie chart identifying 82 (97.6%) answered 'Yes' 2 (2.4%) answered 'No' to the question.

Question 2: Which province/territory do you live in?

Figure 2 – Province or territory of residence

A pie chart identifying 40 (49.4%) answered 'Yukon,' 24 (29.6%) answered 'Northwest Territories,' 13 (16.0%) answered 'Nunavut,' and 4 (4.9%) answered 'British Columbia.' 0 answered 'Alberta' to the question.

Question 3: What size of community do you live in?

Figure 3 – Size of the participant’s community

A pie chart identifying community size, where 48 (59.3%) answered 'Large (Whitehorse, Yellowknife),' 15 (18.5%) answered 'Medium,' 15 (18.5%) answered 'Small.' 3 (3.7%) answered 'Not sure.'

Question 4: How many people live in your household?

Figure 4 – Number of people living in the participant’s household

A pie chart identifying household size, where 40 (47.6%) answered '2,' 14 (16.7%) answered '3,' 13 (15.5%) answered '1,' 8 (9.5%) answered '4,' 7 (8.3%) answered '5+,' and 2 (2.4%) answered 'Prefer not to say.'

Question 5: Do you run a small business in the Far North?

Figure 5 – Participants who run a small business in the Far North

A pie chart identifying small business ownership in the Far North, where 52 (63.4%) answered 'No,' 24 (29.3%) answered 'Yes,' and 6 (7.3%) answered 'Prefer not to say.'

Question 6: Which of the following telecom services does your household (or organisation) use in a typical month? Check all that apply.

Figure 6 – Types of telecom service(s) used by participant’s household/organization in typical month

A column chart identifying telecom services usage, where 80 answered 'Internet,' 77 answered 'Mobile phone (text, data, calls),' 25 answered 'Home phone,' 12 answered 'Other (please specify)' and 0 answered 'Not sure.'

Question 7: How much does your household (or organisation) pay for telecom services in a typical month?

Figure 7 – Total monthly cost of telecom services for participant’s household/organization

A pie chart identifying monthly costs for telecom services, where 41 (48.8%) answered '$251-$500,' 28 (33.3%) answered '$101-$250,' 12 (14.3%) answered '$501-$1000,' 2 (2.4%) answered 'Greater than $2500,' 1 (1.2%) answered '$1001-$2500,' and 0 answered 'Under $50,' '$50-$100,' or 'Not sure/Prefer not to say.'

Question 8: Would you say that the amount ($) your household pays for telecom services...

Figure 8 – Participant's perception of the amount of money their household pay for telecom services

A stacked bar chart identifying Likert-scale questions related to telecom services. Survey respondents predominately selected 'Definitely disagree' and 'Somewhat disagree' for questions related to telecom services as affordable, as reasonable, providing good value for money, and meeting needs.

Question 9: How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed how much your household spends on telecom services in a typical month?

Figure 9 – How the COVID-19 pandemic changed participants’ household spend on telecom services

A pie chart identifying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on household's spending on telecom services, where 56 (66.7%) answered 'Increased my spending,' 26 (31.0%) answered 'No change,' 1 (1.2%) answered 'Decreased my spending,' and 1 (1.2% answered 'Don't know/Prefer not to say.'

Question 10: Have you experienced an unexpectedly high telecom bill in the last year?

Figure 10 – Participants who experienced an unexpectedly high telecom bill in the last year

A pie chart identifying price shock in billed telecom services, where 41 (49.4%) answered 'No,' 36 (43.4%) answered 'Yes,' and 6 (7.2%) answered 'Not sure.'

Question 11: What was the amount?

Figure 11 – Amount more than usual monthly bill

A pie chart linked to the previous question if participants had selected 'Yes' to having price shock, where the question asks what the amount was. Respondents primarily answered within the range of $50-$250 over.

Question 12: Who is your Internet service provider?

Figure 12 – Participants’ internet service providers

A column chart identifying subscribed to internet service providers, where 67 answered 'Northwestel,' 16 answered 'Other (please specify), 4 answered 'SSI Micro,' 3 answered 'Don't know/Don't have an Internet service provider,' and 2 answered 'New North Networks.'

Question 13: If you access the Internet at home, what kind of technology is used to deliver the service?

Figure 13 – Technology used to access Internet at home

A pie chart identifying what type of telecommunications technology is used to deliver home internet. Majority of respondents answered 'Terrestrial (59.5%) with 22.6% answering 'Satellite.'

Question 14: Do you limit your Internet use to manage Internet service costs?

Figure 14 – Participants who limit their Internet usage to manage costs

A pie chart identifying if respondents limit their internet usage to manage their broadband service costs, where 55 (67.1%) answered 'Yes' and 27 (32.9%) answered 'No.'

Question 15: How do you limit your Internet use?

Figure 15 – How participants limit their Internet usage

A column chart linked to the Question 14 if respondents answered 'Yes,' asking how respondents limit their internet use. 45 answered 'Reduce your data use after you get a notification that you are nearing your limit,' 25 answered 'Use Wi-Fi when available instead of data,' 22 answered 'Use tools to track your data use,' and 10 answered 'Other (please specify).'

Question 16: Have you experienced a service outage or interruption in the last year?

Figure 16 – Participants that experienced a service outage or interruption in the past year

A pie chart identifying if respondents' experienced service interruptions in the past year, where 79 respondents (94.0%) answering 'Yes' and 5 respondents (6.0%) answering 'No.'

Question 17: How did it impact you?

77 responses from participants

The survey was conducted online using usernames chosen by participants. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

Participant ID Response
Participant 01 Unable to work remotely, attend online classes, conduct financial transactions
Participant 02 Couldn't use the internet for work or for leisure use
Participant 03 Regular outages have at time prevented me from working from home or connecting with family via video calls.
Participant 04 Until recently, Whenever the power in my neighborhood went out, my cable internet (NWTel) went out, even though I have my Cable Modem and WiFi Router on a UPS with ~2hrs of battery backup. Fortunately there haven't been any recent fiber cuts or breaks in recent memory. 
Participant 07 I was inconvenienced
Participant 08 Had zero internet access out at Prelude Lake, NT. There is a tower out there that is sub-par for the volume of users. Every summer weekend, guaranteed internet won't work intermittently due to the volume of devices using that one tower. This is problematic when emergencies arise, or trying to check weather forecasts (safety) and wildfire alerts (again, safety). Bell has told government officials (MLA's) that it will cost $300K to upgrade that tower to accommodate all the users needs. Well, I think one life is far more valuable than $300,000. There is an entire community that lives out there year-round.

Upgrade the tower, with expansion in mind (future use for the Canadian diamond mines) for the remainder of the Ingraham Trail (highway).
Participant 09 Was not able to make purchases of groceries. Was not able to make phone calls. Was not able to stream movies or videos.

It happens so often I feel our service is at times useless.
Participant 10 Internet connection is constantly intermittent and unexplainable disruptions occur often. It affected our kids online school work during covid lockdowns. 
Participant 11 Very frustrating between school and my business 
Participant 12 I am a stock trader part time and the service Northwestel provides is bad. There is contact signal loss that I have lost quite a bit of money that way. With penny stocks if you miss a second trying to sell, then that loss is never recovered. Nortwestel sends technicians but after a short time we are back to square zero. I have two types of internet, 5G and 2.4G. The 2.4G fails to maintain the max speeds of 80plus and usually functions at 35 or so and as low as 300Kilobytes at times. They have failed to provide explosive speeds and this is also seen in the 5G which keeps blinking all the time. I have been frustrated with Northwestel and I feel we are not getting a bang for our buck. The speeds are inconsistent throughout the day more like third world internet. In short I am disgusted with the service in the NWT. 
Participant 14 I could not do my job.
Participant 15 I lost my report cards! I’d spent time typing up and inputting grades and then BLIP! All that work was lost!
Participant 16 Completely jeopardized important meetings and interviews.
Participant 17 Frequent interruptions, never announced, never acknowledged. Very annoying given the cost of service.
Participant 18 Unable to use phone for a total of four weeks in three instances, no internet for 3 separate weekends
Participant 20 No access during the outsge
Participant 21 my business was not affected, my personal use mildly inconvenienced. 
Participant 22 Impacts post-secondary school access. It Impacts small home-based businesses. 
Participant 23 Service interruptions happen several times a month, for hours at a time. No explanations ever given by Northwestel, no credits or refunds for missed time or compensation for the impact their poor service has on customers. Pathetic and enraging.
Participant 24 I experienced this almost daily for months - it was awful!!!!
Participant 25 Interrupted streaming services. No access to general information that could have been used, in the moment.
Participant 26 I work from home so I couldn't work. I have limited cell where I live so if internet goes out I'm completely out of touch with everyone and I live alone. 
Participant 27 Every single night at midnight when backups run.
Participant 28 Annoyance because it’s sooo expensive 
Participant 29 i was unable to access the internet
Participant 30 I was not able to attend a zoom call. Debit machines at the store stopped working. Landline calling went down so emergency cell service had to switch numbers using Facebook and Twitter.
Participant 31 No internet no contact with family
Participant 32 I was unable to meet a work deadline.
Participant 33 Not able to work
Participant 34 Could not work, access news or entertainment.  
Participant 35 Internet did not work for several hours, then had to reboot modem. Cell service was very slow when internet was unavailable and was unable to load many web pages.
Participant 36 An interruption of service will require me to hot-spot internet from my wireless device, which is considerably slower than a hardwired connection, or will cease all operations and force me to wait until the connection is restored.
Participant 37 Loss of fuel pump connection for POS systems. Inability to receive/answer emails. 
Participant 38 Interfered with work (teaching online) and with studying including writing an exam
Participant 39 Constant problem. Affects my ability to do my job. Affects my ability to communicate with the outside world, my family, my employer, access online information or services etc. 
Participant 41 lose touch with outside world , family friends , if were emergency wouldnt know, when kids in scholl remote learning did not work
Participant 42 dropped out/missed numerous meetings due to bad internet.
Participant 43 My previous position required me to work remotely, if i lost internet i was unable to work
Participant 44 I reset my modem multiple times a week. Unable to use the internet for hours at a time at home.
Participant 45 Internet off, no explanation. 
Participant 46 Switched to mobile for necessary access for work purposes using personal hotspot.
Participant 47 We are completely cut off from family and business contacts when this happens.
Participant 49 used cell data
Participant 50 Did not allow me to work when I needed to. I experienced outages that affected my profession regularly and it was extremely frustrating. It impacted my ability to reliably do my job and make a living.
Participant 51 unable to work from home or use our baby monitor 
Participant 52 Effected school and work deadlines. 
Participant 53 Couldn’t work from home or office due to lack of internet
Participant 55 I use the internet a lot, so when the internet goes out it impacts work, entertainment, and the ability to access services. 
Participant 56 Inability to make phone calls or access the internet for extended periods of time. Poor connectivity when there is weather such as rain, and sometimes snow leading to concerns that I would be unreachable in case of an emergency for my child
Participant 57 In the past year...actually it's been longer than a patience have been tested to the brink of my head exploding.  I don't normally curse, but I have learned many new phrases.  It has been absolutely frustrating when I try to look browse the web, even the smallest webpage, and receive the message that the page cannot be opened because I am not connected to the internet.  So, to get around it, I switch of my home wifi, and connect to the LTE, and that sometimes is just as terrible.  I cannot count the number of times I have had to do that.  My wife works from home, and she is absolutely frustrated by the fact that she cannot process a payment, because of the lack of internet.  There have been times in town where we needed cash on hand to go to the grocery store because the internet is down and they cannot process credit card or debit transactions, which creates even more frustration, because you cannot get money out of an ATM machine either.  I often say that I am just donating my money to Northwestel, and should receive a donation deduction for my income tax.
Participant 58 hours without internet, cut off of Zoom calls, had to work at the office as opposed to remote.
Participant 59 unable to work from home for a few hours
Participant 60 We are use to dealing with interuptions
Participant 61 lost connection
Participant 62 Any interruption means we are cut off from the outside world for business and personal activity.
Participant 63 You deal with it, it seems no one talks to you anymore, old equipment, the landline not even working, drive more to meet clients or drive to the next cell service  to do business, off grid no service period, not interested in servicing the few off grid people in the north, likely to expensive to do. Can you believe it in, 2022 and get this two fibre optic lines go by my door 300’ away. Checkpoint no service or poor service 
Participant 64 my buisness had to shut down as we could not take reservations (reservation system is cloud based), bank machines where offline 36hour outage. 
Participant 65 No communications, in or out o Yellowknife.
Participant 66 It prevented me from working for multiple days
Participant 67 My partner was forced to take a day as vacation as the outage lasted the entire the day. So a loss of earnings on that front. When internet outages happen, our phones are also affected with data, in that it simply doesn't work in a manner that could be called reasonable. 
Participant 68 We have multiple outages every year. We do not get a refund for these outages. Why are we paying for services we are not receiving!?
Participant 69 As I work from home due to a disability, service outages mean that I am unable to work until service is restored.
Participant 70 We experience regular service interruptions and speed slowdowns which impact us by expending longer periods of time online to complete a transaction or have the transaction not go through because the website could not be found or a secure connection failed due to being timed out.  Instead of completing a transaction, such as placing an online order, online banking or filing income taxes in a matter of minutes, it could take more than thirty minutes and then still not get the transaction completed.  For example, registering to do this survey was an exercise in frustration due to slow internet speed.  After spending almost 30 minutes trying to complete the registration process, the registration was not successful.  (What a disincentive to do the survey online!)  After waiting another 30 minutes, give or take, it was possible to complete the registration process and access this survey form with only a couple of brief problems, eg "secure connection failed". 
Participant 71 Unfortunately we've become dependent on internet use and find it quite annoying when it isn't available for periods of time.
Participant 72 In all ways.  No cell service, no landlines service, no internet, no atms, can't us POS terminals, can't call EMS in event of an emergency, can't buy groceries, cant do school work, etc.  
Participant 73 Many, many service outages in the past year, some lasting days. No point calling NWTel to report because they are so frequent. Yet, customers never receive credit for carrier outages. Unfair. 
Participant 74 Have to use a gas powered generator and woodstove to keep house warm and basement from flooding.
Participant 75 My husband was at the mining camp and we were unable to communicate.
My small children could not understand why they were unable to call Daddy before bed. 
Participant 76 cuts off my contact with the world, leaves me no entertainment and unable to communicate with family
Participant 77 unable to make phone calls
unable to work (ie emails)
Participant 78 unable to do banking or communicate with medical services out of town
Participant 79 I lost income. I felt unsafe because I could not call 911.
Participant 80 Without internet we are unable to work.
Participant 81 Stopped my broadcast radio clients from relaying CAP Alerts
Participant 82 no refunds and no apologies. inconvenienced evening
Participant 83 Inconvenience at times.
Participant 84 I had to file a complaint with the CRTC to get my issues resolved because Northwestel didn't take my service outage seriously

Question 18: Have you experienced a situation in the past year where the speed of your Internet services was not sufficient to meet your household’s (or small business’) needs?

Figure 17 – Participants that experienced a situation where their Internet services were not sufficient to meet their needs

A pie chart identifying if respondents' internet speeds did not fit their needs, where 74 (88.1%) answered 'Yes,' 5 (6.0%) answered 'No,' and 5 (6.0%) answered 'Not sure.'

Question 19: What needs were not met?

72 responses from participants

The survey was conducted online using usernames chosen by participants. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

Participant ID Response
Participant 01 In the evenings or during other peak periods of time it seems to be slower
Participant 02 Extremely slow to load anything
Participant 03 Video conferencing for work at home has not been consistent - speeds well below what I am paying for. I work in IT, and consistently get excuses from the service provider that do not make sense or are inconsistent with what the actual problem is. My own home tech has been blamed, though I know it is not the issue based on detailed testing.
Participant 05 Internet is not available in my location (32 km outside of Yellowknife)
Participant 06 Video call for work would not work, video kept buffering and lagging. Ridiculous in, 2022. I pay for high speed internet with good bandwith.
Participant 07 Some Skype and Zoom calls were unusable
Participant 09 All the same as above. But so much more often. 
Participant 10 If more than 1 device is connected the speed slows down with each additional device. Online school work and leisure needs were disrupted often. 
Participant 11 Trying to take an exam 
Participant 12 For getting constant speeds for trading stocks, due to interruptions,  real time info is needed all the time. Videos when kids are researching school stuff on You Tube etc. Loading takes for ever and stop in the middle of research or for entertainment purposes eg with Netflix, Again very frustrating.
Participant 13 Unable to use the internet or make calls due to how slow it was daily after 6:00 pm .
Participant 14 The internet was too slow for me to do my job.
Participant 15 Teaching online school from home was awful, and even WORSE at the school!!
Participant 16 My meetings would not work on Zoom
Participant 18 Inability to do banking, contact CRA, inability to participate in zoom meetings
Participant 20 No ability to download attachments
Participant 21 sites timed out
Participant 22 Slow to no connection 
Participant 23 Almost impossible to download or stream films or tv. Painfully slow
Participant 24 Could not get online to attend work meetings or scheduled work 
Participant 25 Could not open e-mails. Could not do children's online learning platform/educational videos. Interruption while trying to pay bills online.
Participant 26 All of them haha. The internet is ridiculously slow. I'm signed up for 15GB download but rarely get that. I upload videos for my side business and on a short 10-minute video I have to run it OVERNIGHT because my upload speed is so glacially slow. It would take about 6 hours to upload that. 
Participant 29 often times i cannot open web pages as it times out
Participant 30 I was not able to attend a zoom call. When I was sending photos, they would not upload. Reports were not sent out for review because attaching the 10mb file to email was not working.
Participant 31 Wait time trying to get a stable signal.  To the extent that service was unusable 
Participant 32 I teach classes at home. I cannot have multiple camera feeds at the same time. My students must turn off their cameras so we can have class.
Participant 33 Freezing of teleconference calls
Participant 34 Working from home - couldn't open email attachments or provide comments on documents.  
Participant 36 The internet speed which my household was capable of prevented full access to virtual meetings. Most of my meetings are work-related with individuals who share the same provider, so they are understanding of the disruption in service as they also experience them. But this would be more significant if i was required to attend a virtual meeting with a healthcare provider who may be required to SEE me.
Participant 37 I currently manage 5 different sites with interent. NWTEL does not offer "cable" service in areas that are residential. So, for example, country residential/industrial (within city limits), only has access to DSL service. The service is extremely slow. As the world shifts (against my will) to more information laden programs/websites, it's pathetic to see how slow our services are. Online auctions for example, are glitchy and almost unattendable. Then there is the cost. $150.00 a month?! For a service that can barely reach 5MBPS. With respect to cell phones. I have to regularly reset my cell phone to gain internet back when I move to different parts of Whitehorse.

I also have a serious problem with the upcoming "lease" to First nations for infrastructure. NWTL is taking money that was provided by taxpayers (CRTC gave it through an upgrade fund). Are building infrastructure with it, have asked the FN to pay 3 million, and are then going to LEASE the infrastructure back from First nations for 25 years. HOWEVER, no one can use the infrastructure except NWTEL (exclusive use). This means taxpayers will have to pay for a lease agreement when they've already paid for the infrastructure. I believe this is being done because federal funding when tied to First Nation can lead to tax free policies OR there is going to be an increase in funding for First Nations projects. The problem is this "middle man" policy has created an unnecessary fee. My businesses are in different communities. The phone (whether cable or landline) are inconsistent, have troubles cancelling one call then going to another, and frequently result in having to redial calls multiple times. Even streaming a simple video on YouTube involved buffering. I'm on the fastest packages available. 
Participant 38 I work from home and can never access Dropbox files and frequently pages in the LMS (learning management system) that I manage and teach from will not load. My adult son and partner live in our basement suite and, despite having a separate Internet line from the main house, were not able to write university exams through ProctorU. In one case, cell data was used and another instance required a quick scramble to go to town.
Participant 39 unable to download, unable to access my desktop via VMware, which is necessary to do my job. Unable to take care of family business. Unable to track someone traveling in extremely remote bush areas via GPS service.
Participant 41 working from home for self wife , kids trying to do remote learning , paying for streaming services that wont work
Participant 42 Everything takes forever to load. Video calling doesn't work often.
Participant 43 Attempting video-conference at peak usage times would drop calls routinely or video/audio quality would suffer significantly
Participant 44 Literally no internet service or slow speeds regularly. 
Participant 45 Slower than what I supposed pay for-not able to load web pages or send email.
Participant 47 We are not able to use Zoom or view videos. This is critical for ongoing educational needs, meeting with clients, keeping up on family members (elderly parents care).
Participant 48 Periodic freezing during video conferencing
Participant 49 teleconferencing
Participant 50 The internet speeds available to me are either unaffordable at the rate charged or regularly do not meet my needs, specifically to do my job with regular video calls and functions that require a high speed
Participant 51 frequent internet outages and slow speeds increased my use of cell data (which cell signal in our location is limited)…family missed days work or had to drive into town to find work
Participant 52 Research for school and work interrupted resulting in bad service from my company and late school assignments. 
Participant 53 Ability to work from home/office due to Slow internet/low bandwidth causes issues for video conferencing and have had some streaming issues (buffering)  
Participant 54 Reaching my 50GB limit and having unlimited at a slower speed otherwise does not allow me to have enough data to complete online courses. It is increasingly difficult without being able to hotspot to a laptop or complete courses when at the slower speed
Participant 55 The internet is just slow here. Sometimes it takes a really long time to load a video, or just regular browsing. 
Participant 56 One device may stream at a time, using reduced audio and visual function to ensure capacity is not overwhelmed leading to constant buffering, choppy, or delayed streaming. Information regarding our solar energy production will not load because the internet connection is too poor. When I access the app using a southern internet connection, it loads.
Participant 57 Just being able to browse the internet period.  Ask anyone in this town, and they can tell you that there have been times where they had to just give up, because the internet was not usable.
Participant 58 streaming of video - conference calls and movies
Participant 60 Northwestel is selling the band width from infrastructure paid by Canada and canadians to Alaska. As a result, they lessened the speed and charge more stating there is not enough bandwidth. They are Charging the Alaskans cheaper amounts and combining services they don't even offer to Yukoners.
Participant 61 Lack of connection
Participant 62 Unable to use video conferencing and connection will drop from time to time. Sometimes voice calls are not sufficient quality over the internet to be useful.
Participant 63 Unable to do large files or do zoom for example 
Participant 64 bandwidth is to small for my business needs, 10mb down 5up with 150ppl on the property as well as busness needs and staff usage i max out my data throttle cap very fast. 
Participant 66 Excessively slow download speeds (100kb/s) to get computer updates and files around 1GB.
Participant 68 Speeds are much lower than advertised. I am a small business owner, my husband works from home for the territorial government. We also have a roommate that shares the services. The Internet is slow and we have frequent outages.
Participant 69 Part of my work includes video conferencing, which has been impacted when internet speeds drop.
Participant 70 From approximately November 2021 to May, 2022 evening internet speeds were well below the rate we were paying for or there was no connection at all.  I provided Northwestel with speed tests which documented the issue and their agent was extremely cooperative in explaining the situation and provided ongoing updates.  They have made some improvements but still service is often below published speeds.  What irks me is that Northwestel only offered a minimal compensation for the significant inconvenience stating that the internet service was up to par much of the time.  A true statement indeed but the service was not there when I needed it in the evening.  Service was probably good after midnight (it usually wasn't at 11 pm) and possibly all through the day (when I am out of the house at work) and therefore is Northwestel expecting me to adjust my daily activities to coincide with the times the internet connectivity speeds are at the rate paid for?  I could quit my day job and find other employment in the evening so I could access the internet after midnight and throughout the day - not really an option!  I realize internet service in remote communities is complex but I find the attitude of Northwestel to compensate for poor service to be an insult. 
Participant 71 It is ridiculous to still offer 5 mb download speed for the many years we've had internet and price that continues to increase slightly each year.
Participant 72 Had dial up speeds, couldn't sustain VPN connections to work, couldn't load web pages.
Participant 73 Cannot connect to communications apps like VoIP, video calling, government shared drives, etc. etc. etc. 
Participant 74 Receiving email/phone calls/television viewing.
Participant 75 I take online workshops for work and more often then not the video will disconnect.  
Participant 76 all needs when the land line and the internet, which includes access to television services and streaming services goes out.
no entertainment, no access to communicate with family or purchases
Participant 77 too slow of connection.
certain times of the day, the connection would be super slow due to a vast majority of the territory online
Participant 78 unable to maintain link for video calls
interruptions in streaming services
Participant 79 Any internet usage was impossible, with the exception of the occasional transfer of a text-only message through an app.
Participant 80 Could not participate in Zoom/Team meetings.
Participant 81 Not viable to do business in Canada.  Go elsewhere with IP,
Participant 82 internet can be unusable
Participant 83 Internet connection and speed is intermittent at times.
Participant 84 My internet speeds were slowed down when fibre was installed in the community. I had to switch to fibre because my internet connection became more unreliable.

Question 20: Have you experienced a situation in the past year where the reliability of your telecom services were not sufficient to meet your household’s (or organisation’s) needs? (e.g., due to outages, service interruptions)

Figure 18 – Participants that experienced a situation where the reliability of their telecom services were not sufficient to meet their needs

A pie chart identifying if the reliability of respondents' telecom services did not meet their needs, where 78 (92.9%) answered 'Yes,' 5 (6.0%) answered 'No,' and 1 (1.2%) answered 'Not sure.'

Question 21: What needs were not met?

74 responses from participants

The survey was conducted online using usernames chosen by participants. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

Participant ID Response
Participant 01 Unable to conduct financial transactions
Participant 02 Couldn't use the internet for work or for leisure use
Participant 03 I can't always count on stability of the network for working from home or other activities that require a stable internet connection. We have no redundant link down south, which is regularly damaged over the summer cutting all network services for an extended period. 
Participant 04 Until recently, Whenever the power in my neighborhood went out, my cable internet (NWTel) went out, even though I have my Cable Modem and WiFi Router on a UPS with ~2hrs of battery backup. Fortunately there haven't been any recent fiber cuts or breaks in recent memory. Since we were working from home, we needed the internet to remote work. This caused me and my wife to not be able to work.
Participant 05 There is a single cell tower in the vicinity of my home. It offers 3G service only and is completely overwhelmed during evenings and weekends, particularly during the summer when camping/boating activity is at its peak.
Participant 06 Video call for work would not work, video kept buffering and lagging. Ridiculous in, 2022. I pay for high speed internet with good bandwith.
Participant 07 Some Skype and Zoom calls were unusable
Participant 08 Couldn't connect to the internet to check weather & wildfire forecasts/alerts. Weather checks are required to ensure safe passage from dwellings to main land.
Participant 09 Not being able to make calls, dropped calls, horrible call connection. 
Participant 10 The connection is constantly intermittent and the slightest bit of bad weather (a bit of rain or snow) causes disruptions. It affected online school work and leisure activities. 
Participant 11 No Interac via wifi down May long weekend 
Participant 12 As above
Participant 13 Internet would basically not work after 6pm or when it rained.
Participant 14 The internet was not reliable enough for me to do my job.
Participant 15 Outages meant data was lost and I had to do the work all over again. 
Participant 16 Children could not attend online learning.
Participant 17 Entertainment, communication with friends and family.
Participant 18 Inability to do banking, interruptions to meetings, being pushed out of CRA website
Participant 20 Reliability is always an issue. Outages occur randomly, often during working hours which makes it difficult to work. 
Participant 22 Same as above 
Participant 23 For example, just now. Flip on TV to watch hockey playoffs. The entire tv cable service has been down since 1:30 MDT. It’s more than 3 hours later - still not fixed, no one answering the NETel line, no explanations given. Infuriating. And I’m paying some of the highest rates in the country for this garbage service?!?!
Participant 24 I called in and nothing was done - I had to call so many times. It was ridiculous 
Participant 25 The general access to the web. Get a bit of rain, some snow and services are very spotty, if available at all. Customer must call themselves, to get a credit from unavailable services; when everyone, including services provider, knows our paid service, was not available. Speeds with internet/data (especially data) are constantly not met. The infrastructure is just not there, for the amount of people using the services.
Participant 26 It lags regularly, goes out often. I have to call about once/month to get them to reset something that went wonky on their end. That means waiting until I can get through and get someone to talk to. Super frustrating.
Participant 27 BC no internet from telus line hit, 911 services from nwtel line hit. Where is the redundancy our infrastructure is painfully under built.
Participant 29 cell service is spotty and often unavailable especially for cell to land line and vice versa calling
Participant 30 Could not write exam. Could not call proctor.
Participant 31 Bill payment, ordering groceries, contacting medical personnel 
Participant 32 The internet will slow down or stop, seemingly at random, with no communication from Northwestel.
Participant 33 Internet is spotty so cuts out all the time
Participant 34 Working from home - couldn't use zoom with video, skype for business, convert document formats, access email....
Participant 36 irregular interruptions of service make it difficult to plan out a work day and meet scheduled deadlines.
Participant 37 Power outages, service being to slow, failure to upgrade infrastructure so that I can have the fastest slow internet NWTEL has to offer!
Participant 38 Same comments as above. Over the past year, Internet seems worse than in the past. We can only access DSL5 services and many webpages (like CBC) won't load initially. This situation is ongoing not "on occasion."
Participant 39 unable to access my desktop via VMware, which is necessary to do my job. Unable to take care of family business. Unable to track someone traveling in extremely remote bush areas via GPS service. Unable to communicate with outside world
Participant 41 working from home for self wife , kids trying to do remote learning , paying for streaming services that wont work . trying to do online banking cuts out 
Participant 42 Random internet outages.
Participant 43 Too frequent drops in service
Participant 45 Slow internet. Communication reduced. 
Participant 46 Uninterrupted service was not available for days at a time.
Participant 47 We are not able to use Zoom or view videos. This is critical for ongoing educational needs, meeting with clients, keeping up on family members (elderly parents care).
Participant 49 working from home
Participant 50 I have found internet connection is not reliable at any time in Whitehorse. Even though I am a reliable paying customer, many times, if not regularly, my service was interrupted for extended periods and did not in any way meet needs such that they severely impacted my ability to work, interview for jobs, see news or critical updates. 
Participant 51 see above answers
Participant 52 Same as above
Participant 54 Occasionally the cell towers have had interruptions 
Participant 56 Dropped called, caller unable to hear me even though I was able to hear them, text messages not being delivered, delay in sending and receiving emails, inability to access online course or work emails
Participant 57 Just a couple of days ago, both the internet and the LTE were down.  We could not browse using either technology, nor were we able to make cellular calls.  The system was up and down for hours.
Participant 58 Internet outages means we can't email, staff can't work remotely
Participant 60 Slow and intermittened internet at lower speeds than advertised.
Participant 61 Lack of connection then reconnection
Participant 62 Disruption to business and personal activity - Zoom, audio calls, impossible to access payment services etc.
Participant 63 No land line unable to repair old equipment 
Participant 64 dns servers keep changing making my network not able to connect to the web, i needed to lock my dns servers with google to help mitigate this issue and the outage in the area was not followed up with proper response what happened how to prevent and accountability on bringing equipment online. We have no cell service here so the only communication i have is hardwire internet and telephone. 
Participant 65 interruptions and no services or poor services.
Participant 66 Frequent network disconnection interrupting work and data transfers for work. It forced me to switch to another provider with less monthly bandwidth hoping the service would be better. So far, it is not any better.
Participant 67 Too many outages.
Participant 68 Outages mean my husband who works remotely can not work, if he cannot work his clients do not get the services they need from him. Outages mean I cannot meet the needs of my clients. We are paying high prices (compared to the rest of the country) for slower Internet speeds, and when their are outages we are not refunded for the lack of services.
Participant 69 As mentioned above, service outages have caused me to be unable to work at times.
Participant 70 See above.  Even today, registering to this survey was time consuming and frustrating due to slow internet connectivity and possibly issues on the CRTC website.
Participant 71 Disruptions in our email due to Nwtel server issues.  Having fiber cable installed underground which contributed to the loss of our phone/dsl  cable for nearly a week.
Participant 72 No internet, no phone services, no point of sale units working, nothing worked.
Participant 73 Cannot connect to communications apps like VoIP, video calling, government shared drives, etc. etc. etc. 
Participant 74 Everything
Participant 75 During Covid my older children were not able to do online school work because of internet speeds and because of cost of usage overages. 
Participant 76 same as above
Participant 77 several outages
serverl service interruptions
unable to make phone calls
Participant 78 unreliable speeds - dropped video call links without warning - extended outages after hours when technical support was not accessible
Participant 79 Connection to business partners, friends, information
Participant 80 Internet usage. When cloudy or rainy we lose service.
Participant 81 above
Participant 82 it goes down for no reason
Participant 83 Internet not working at times
Participant 84 Took a month to get internet restored

Question 22: Have you made a complaint about your telecom services in the last year?

Figure 19 – Participants who made a complaint last year

A pie chart identifying if respondents had made a complaint about their telecom services in the past year, where 42 (50%) of respondents answered 'Yes' and 42 (50%) of respondents answered 'No.'

Question 23: What was the issue? Check all that apply.

Topic of complaints made Number of participants who checked off this topic
Inadequate quality of service 37
Service calls 13
Overage fees 8
Other 7
Incorrect charge on your bill 6
Installation 5
Misleading or aggressive sales practices 4
Change to contract without notice 4
Credit or refund not received 2
Legitimacy or amount of early cancellation fee 1
Breach of contract 1
Credit reporting 1
30-day cancellation policy 0

Question 24: Was it resolved to your satisfaction?

Figure 20 – Participants satisfied with how their complaint was resolved

A pie chart linked to Question 22 regarding sending a complaint about telecom services, which asked if the complaint was resolved to respondents' satisfaction. 35 (83.3%) answered 'No' and 7 (16.7%) answered 'Yes.'

Question 25: Is the price of telecom services in the Far North preventing you from fully participating in the digital economy? If yes, please specify which services are causing affordability issues (Internet, home phone, etc.) and why.

68 responses from participants

The survey was conducted online using usernames chosen by participants. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

Participant ID Response
Participant 02 Affordability for any package offered, as the speed is often tied to the higher bandwidth usage, and one often restricts the other (both ways depending on the situation), resulting in the need to just get the biggest package that one can afford
Participant 03 I have a job that allows me to pay for the bandwidth/speed required for full participation in the digital economy - but this is contingent on me staying in this job. Not a situation that is favorable. Affordability is not at a level that everyone can justify.
Participant 04 Personally, I don't believe I am affected by the pricing of the telecoms as our household has a relatively high income level. I know for a fact that there are many who work lower wage jobs that cannot afford the current internet packages and cellphone plans.
Participant 05 Yes. Without broadband internet we are forced to rely on our cellular data, which as described above is terrible during peak times. At times email and browsing is almost impossible, so streaming or other data-heavy usage is impossible.
Participant 06 I would love to have higher quality internet but it is already 150 a month for unlimited, in Yellowknife!!! ANd I have to may activation fee even though I installed the modem and router myself. Just plain cash grab.  Canadians pay among the highest telecom costs in the world which is a travesty 
Participant 07 No
Participant 09 It's not preventing me now, but it has in the past. The costs we pay, compared to the south, and the quality of thr service we receive are so disproportionate It's comical at this point. 
Participant 11 Yes 
Participant 12 Services are generally expensive here. From housing costs, groceries etc and we are always behind in our bills to some degree. We always have a constant fear that one day our services will be cut and kids will not be able to do home work online. 
Participant 14 I am extremely rich, so I can afford the internet, but there is no amount of money I can pay to purchase adequate internet access in my community.
Participant 15 I want to have a home phone in addition to our cells, but the cost is prohibitive. 
Participant 16 Internet and cell phone and their prices and inconsistent service.
Participant 17  
Participant 18 Difficult to do consulting work when zoom meetings can’t be done on NWTel internet…have to use Telus phone data plan, difficult to do banking as system hangs, often too slow to use CRA tools
Participant 21 streaming services limited, like zoom meetings ue to limits on bandwidth
Participant 22 We might move south and its cheaper for internet there 
Participant 23 Yes! Internet is slow, goes down frequently for long periods or the day, expensive, no refunds or credits for missed time. I am paying a premium for inferior product and zero customer service.
Participant 24 YES! The price is insane and therefore we constantly monitor  how much we use. 
Participant 25 In this day in age, the need for data/internet services has risen drastically... with ridiculous caps of 100-200GB. When everything we do, especially up north (with no access to physically being at the shopping venues, automobile sales, etc.) requires us to be online. With services constantly being interrupted by weather, cut fiber in another territory, reloading pages and using the extra bandwidth/data, tends to eat up more of said services. Not to mention the speed of which they advertise. Sure, the LTE services was great at first, but now, I get speeds of 2MB/sec, on a good day. Kilobytes, usually.
Participant 26 YES!!!! Kinda surprised you guys are legitimately asking this because it's so freakin' obvious most of us in the north cannot fully participate in the digital economy. Why is it taking the CRTC so long to understand?!?! Internet is glacially slow, even with Fibre upgrades supposedly coming, I found out my little subdivision was not eligible for them yet other communities are. So that's not good. Unlimited data should be standard. Overage fees are ridiculous and bankrupt people!! How is this allowed when internet is a necessity now especially after covid? The cell coverage in the Yukon is so sparse you can't rely on it if you are stranded on the highway at 40 below. I don't even have good cell coverage at home and had NONE until last year. Now it's barely usable and you never know when or where you'll have it.

Shopping, banking, my online work, everything is affected by crappy internet service. 
Participant 27 No
Participant 28 Internet and cable - way too expensive 
Participant 30 Internet - ability to write exams, view emails, attach photos, stay connected in zoom calls, pay bills using online banking
Participant 31 Simply put I cannot afford the service
Participant 32 I am unable to take on additional online duties at my job because I cannot afford unlimited internet packages.
Participant 33 Hard to use other devices to access internet while simultaneously streaming  
Participant 34 No
Participant 35 no, however 3 working adults are splitting the bill to make it more affordable otherwise it would be a barrier to digital economic participation 
Participant 36 I could certainly do a lot more if the prices were fairer.
Participant 37 The cost/benefit + ROI is not worthwhile.
I can mail all of my invoices + drop them off for about $20.00

That's kind of the only reason why i'd need internet. The base requirement for a business = accounting (sage50), cloud computing, and emails.

HOWEVER, after losing access to these things. I don't see a benefit to them (speed). Sure, but the majority of my bandwidth (this is actually globally) is used for useless time wasting activities. Arguably online advertising = very effective, so Facebook and other social media sites are great methods for trying to gain new hires. HOWEVER, they become distractions. I'd also argue that the the incessant need for passwords, logins, cookies on multiple sites = a huge waste of computer resources.

So, what is the return on investment for my internet. WELL, arguably, if I didn't have it, I could still participate in the economy and probably better support local infrastructure (shopping/shipping). But, one tire tube for a bicycle online is $5.00 versus the 10 at the local bike store. So, i'm not supporting local and ultimately harming the economy. I'd also say that e-commerce has led to an abundance of waste. Our garbage dumps are dealing with MORE waste because of E commerce, so that's a straight up negative of the e commerce. Instead of the North surviving with less, we buy a ton more useless ... anyways
Participant 38 The price is not the issue - the issue is that we have no other choice than DSL5 so it is the speed and service that is currently the issue.
Participant 39 If I could obtain decent telecom services in the Far North I would use the Internet for economic activities. Not only is my extremely limited data package too expensive, but the service is unreliable meaning it terminates often in the middle of trying to complete a transaction. My current service is the number one barrier to fully participating in the digital economy.
Participant 41 with average overages of 300 plus a month not much left after to do any thing, cell bills are extra high if need data which we have to
Participant 44 At times yes, but we can access the digital economy most of the time.
Participant 45 No. I appreciate that one provider is carrying the load for all. To duplicate infrastructure is prohibitive and not economically viable. 
Participant 46 Occasionally, working from home is affected because of unreliable connectivity.
Participant 47 We have contacted Total North in Whitehorse and we are waiting for updated costing but we have been told the approximate cost of installation is ~$10,000.00 with ongoing monthly fees of ~$400/month. Starlink is apparently slated for our region in 2023 but there are concerns about how durable the satellite dishes are in -40C and colder temperatures. Their prices have also increased.
Participant 49 no opinion
Participant 50 Yes, the cost of internet with overage fees is a huge burden. I am unable to afford a high-data plan and dissuades and prevents me from using or participating in the digital economy, especially when close to breaching the 'limit' on the plan for fear of overage charges
Participant 51 internet cost for the speed and amount of internet data is not right
Participant 52 At max data still not enough to do daily online things such as shopping, school, banking and small business work. 
Participant 54 Yes, there are no options for internet service other than using data from a cell phone as I live in West Dawson and am considered off grid. This housing was the only option as there is a housing crisis in the far north also. I have increased cost and decreased productivity while trying to complete a masters degree due to the lack of internet options!
Participant 55 The price of internet and cellular services is ridiculous. It's extremely frustrating knowing that other places in Canada pay a lot less of internet, when some people spend all of their free cash just accessing the internet. 
Participant 56 Internet is overpriced for the quality and quantity of service available. The packages are small - maximum of 100 GB/month with Xplorenet for $118. $40 for an additional 35 GB. I have been successfully negotiating a discount, but must call and do so every three months, which is frustrating. Switching to Northwestel, I could access 150GB for $80/month, except that I am then forced to pay for a landline service, which I do not want or need and should not be required to have, for a minimum $35/month. The upload/download speeds that accompany these packages are notably smaller than what is available in every other jurisdiction in Canada, not to mention the lack of an unlimited option.
Participant 57 Our household can afford it; however, it is much more expensive that plans people are paying in lower Canada.  Also, the data cap is ridiculous.
Participant 58 no
Participant 59 Our home internet is incredibly expensive. Since COVID-19 me and my partner work much more from home, and needed to upgrade our internet allowance twice to accommodate our usage without outrageous overage fees. We restrict our internet activity to ensure we don't go over. 
Participant 60 Internet is a real problem. For instance in a commercial/industrial subdivision in Mount Simain Whitehorse,  we were of the understanding we would have fiber optic internet. We were told that the Canadian Government paid for the infrastructure to improve the service. It is hard to run a successful business in Whitehorse when we are still, to this day, are using slow internet felivered over a telephone line.....come on guys!!!!
Participant 62 No - it's the quality and availability of the service.
Participant 63 Just not available to me I would love it
Participant 64 Internet is a huge issue in the north. we cant even download a xcel file without waiting a few minutes, my staff cant attend online courses etc the speeds provided for the cost is not adequate any more in this day and age when everything is supposed to be connected from watches to tablets phones cars etc... 
Participant 65 No
Participant 66 No because I am fortunate enough, now, to have a job which provides me a decent income. However, paying the internet bills was an issue 3 years ago.
Participant 67 If my partner was not supporting me with her income, then yes, the pricing of internet services here would be entirely unaffordable.
Participant 68 We are overcharged for services, compared to the rest of Canada. I have no problem paying for what I receive, but I am often not receiving the services at all, or paying too much.
Participant 69 Since I work from home, I have no choice but to pay whatever price is charged for high-speed internet service. So while I am still able to participate fully despite the high cost, the high costs negatively impact me by requiring me to spend excessively for that need.
Participant 70 I think the price we pay would be reasonable is connectivity speeds were faster and interruptions/slowdowns less frequent.  Many a time significant amount of time is spent researching online products only to have the internet stop or the completion of the sale not completed because the internet speed was too slow.  This is an issue that will likely be more frequent at the service rates we have as companies and governments add more sophisticated security measures to protect online activity from cyber-attacks.  Being timed out during the security check process does happen now, been timed out of online banking numerous times because the sign-in process was taking too long, and will this likely become more frequent going forward.
Participant 72 Yes.  Absolutely.  Have you tried a video call on dial up speed?  Have to drop off as speeds are insufficient to even maintain a call.
Participant 73 Yes, prices are too high to be able to use the internet for more than just basic services. There's no reason I need to pay an extra $500/year for a home phone that I don't use in order to be a Northwestel customer, aside from giving them the BSO subsidy that they then use to cross-subsidize internet service. Switching to another carrier that costs more for less is not a suitable alternative.  Reliability of network makes even the simplest uses sometimes impossible or impractical.
Participant 74 Everything
Participant 75 Yes.  When I was in Ont. I paid $70 a month for unlimited internet.  Now I pay $90, plus $120 Satellite TV because the internet is limited. 
Participant 77 yes. the cost of internet in the Yukon is vastly more expensive compared to areas south. For instance, I just got unlimited 200 internet through northwestel and it costs around $200. there are 3 types of unlimited packages that vary form 140 to 250$. way to expensive especially for those on a fixed income 
Participant 78 Yes - access to online learning resources for educational upgrading lack relaibility can drop/slow.
Participant 79 No, we are a triple income no kids household. We have the funds necessary.
Participant 80 Yes. We also do NOT have cell service because it's not available which means using call over wifi. Satellite internet is EXPENSIVE and not unlimited nor high speed.
Participant 81 Excluded from participating in the digital economy. Closed shop in Canada.  GOC can't bury the bodies fast enough.
Participant 82 the value is not worth the service. nwtel refuses to install in homes that have been split into apartments 
Participant 84 I am privileged to be able to afford paying some of the highest cellular and internet rates among the developed nations of the world.

Question 26: With respect to your telecom services, rank these issues in order of importance (1 being the most important).

Options Avg. Rank
Affordability (e.g., reducing the cost of plans) 1.94
Investment (e.g., faster and more reliable services) 2.20
Greater choice (e.g., having more choices of service providers) 2.81
Innovation (e.g., having new and better services or packages that meet your needs) 2.99

Question 27: What are the most important factors that the CRTC should consider to make Internet and home phone services more affordable in the Far North (e.g., high overage charges, expensive unlimited plans, service fees)?

83 responses from participants

The survey was conducted online using usernames chosen by participants. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

Participant ID Response
Participant 01 Expensive unlimited plans
Participant 02 All 3 of the listed examples (high overage charges, expensive unlimited plans, service fees) impact affordability in the north. Speed and reliability in more remote areas is a big factor in addition to costs, whereas speed is less of an issue in places like Whitehorse, but cost and occasional reliability are still larger issues.
Participant 03 Service charges for troublesooting/home visits continue to creep up, leading to hesitancy in trying to resolve issues that come up due to financial barriers posed. Unlimited internet plans was a huge step forward but the issue of consistency (regularly below network speed I pay for) and reliability (regular outages) still is outstanding.
Participant 04 Competition (NWTel has a de-facto monopoly in the NWT), Unlimited residential plans are extremely expensive, and there's only one fiber line that connects Yellowknife (and many other communities) to the rest of the internet. All of this needs to change drastically.

Broadband Internet Service should be regulated like a utility (Electricity, Water, Heating, etc). It is already considered a Basic Service, so let's build on that and regulate it better, and invest in Rural and Remote internet backbones to strengthen our national internet backbone, and build a better digital economy!
Participant 05 Availability of high speed internet and high speed cellular data in more areas is necessary. The cost of accessing those services is also an issue for lower income families.
Participant 06 Bring in more providers! Stop the scam! Mandatory plans that are priced at a ratio differential to prices in the SOuth
Participant 07 There needs to be redundant fiber connections.  Whenever there's a breakage or disruption on the single line from Yellowknife to the south, almost everything stops working.  The redundant fiber route should *NOT* be owned by Northwestel.
Participant 08 Crazy expensive unlimited plans. Poor coverage in remote areas. Insufficient capacity at the tower erected at Prelude Lake (West). 
Participant 09 Affordability and quality of service that matches the rest of Canada, because it's apparent the rest of Canada has forgotten we are in fact part of Canada too. 
Participant 10 Consistency/reliability, adequate speeds, affordability, better customer services. 
Participant 11 High overage 
Participant 12 Really Northwestel cannot coupe up and another bigger player that is more serious should be allowed to participate if they wish...All the other companies still buy their data from northwestel which has a poor infrastructure 
Participant 13 Reliability, speed, accurate accounting of data usage by companies operating in Nunavut and bandwidth caps
Participant 14 I don't care how much it costs, I just want the internet to be faster.
Participant 15 More competition should drive the prices down!
Participant 16 Expensive unlimited plans.  Data should carry over to a certain amount so that overage charges aren't so bad.
Participant 17 Reliability of service, more affordable cost.
Participant 18 Overall charges are far too high, and promised speeds seldom delivered. Fibre comes to our community, but is not available to home users who are limited to coax. Coax fails in heavy rains and during freeze thaw. Our service degrades to 4-8 from 25 plus everyday in mid afternoon when school is out, not possible to do zoom meetings or watch Netflix 
Participant 20 Making plans unlimited and the costs for unlimited plans closer to those in southern Canada. 
Participant 21 maybe some competition would decrease costs
Participant 22 Northwestel is the absolute worst and sadly the only choice that meets are needs 
Participant 23 Expensive plans from inferior, slow, unstable product
Participant 24 Expensive unlimited plans and the quality of the unlimited plans. 
Participant 25 The most important is definitely access to competition with the same amount of infrastructure as the others. Northwestel dominates in the area of speed and it is laughable, at their services and their idea of, "speed". Service so slow and spotty that streaming a 40 minute show, can take you an hour. For their "fast" speeds, streaming services do buffer a lot. A LOT.
The access to more bandwidth and speeds is a must, as well, as stated in this survey. Thank you!
Participant 26 REDUCE COST! IMPROVE SERVICE EVERYWHERE! Show the Canadians in the north that you actually care about them and feel they expect the same services that southerners have. 
Participant 27 Ipv6 please, internet that runs 24 hours a day. Thanks.
Participant 28 Cap on charges 
Participant 29 internet should be free to private households 
Participant 30 Reliability. Internet should work and be fast. Telus has the fastest Vancouver internet with 2.5Gbps download and upload available on its fastest plan. Iqaluit should have the same option.
Participant 31 Reduce cost, allow real competition, actually provide the services as adver And reqired
Participant 32 Break the monopoly that northwestel has on the north. They will continue to gouge as long as no one else can compete with them.
Participant 33 High charges generally, unreliable spotty service, lacking infrastructure, high overage charges, unrealistic unlimited plans, lack of package options, service not keeping up with global technology (i.e. high resolution streaming services)
Participant 34 Lack of access to a diverse and competitive telecom market.  Unlimited plans are not actually unlimited.  Overage charges are outrageous considering we do not receive cashback for frequent service interruptions.  Streaming a movie in 4G requires more data than the most affordable internet/cable package.  
Participant 35 lower fees, in Ontario I could get an unlimited plan with decent speeds for $50/month, in Whitehorse the lowest unlimited plan is $150/month. Added fees for improved modems add to the cost as do installation fees and mandatory deposits of over $200 per service which cannot be waived without a hard credit check that affects one's credit rating. 
Participant 36 Northwestel (a Bell subsidiary) operates a virtual monopoly for home and wireless internet services in the North. The lack of competition leads to poor services, poor reliability, poor customer care, and excessively priced service options. I have also read reports that Northwestel is Bell's most profitable operation. This makes sense when you understand that the majority of Northerns are stuck with them as provider, they charge more than what is reasonable and do not make significant upgrades to the telecom backbone.
Access to the internet is having an ever-expanding effect on Canadians personal and professional lives. Without proper access, we are leaving some Canadians behind in education and job opportunities, and are preventing full access to physical and mental health providers.
Participant 37 Please investigate their new partnerships. NWTEL and FN is going to be a glut for both groups and consumers are going to pay. I don't know why a tax funded CRTC grant should allow them to make more money. With respect to service. I don't understand it. My friend, RIP, was the previous president of NwTEL. I understand that they have to get a certain amount of use out of infrastructure to make it profitable. BUT --- I'm pretty sure they're milking some really old infrastructure. It's absolutely sad to think of communities like Mayo, Stewart Crossing, Watson Lake where the response is -- "Oh, we can't provide you cable internet there because we don't have the infrastructure, you can only get DSL." The modems they use have a very high failure rate (i've gone through 3 in a year). Even downtown whitehorse-- I had to pay for cable to be ran to my building.

I'm hesitant to ask for the infrastructure to meet a certain "base level" because no matter what, any upgrade, the cost is passed onto the consumer.

Participant 38 Ensure that services and access to Internet and mobile phones allow those of us living in the Far North access to being able to work and study from home as well as do things like banking and insurance that are primarily only available online. 
Participant 39 Making sure ALL people in the Far North even have ACCESS to Internet and home phone services is the first step in making it affordable. More affordable infrastructure. More affordable access. Access period. 
Participant 40 expensive unlimited plans
Participant 41 Need enough band width and higher caps for price we are paying , normal family of 4 now uses probably 300 gs of data each a month , with caps at 200 gs a month for dsl , we out of data by 10th of month, very frustrating for customer who are now paying for numerous streaming sevices on a monthly bases and cannot watch any
Participant 42 People depend on the internet for employment, education, social & cultural connections, and safety- this must be reflected in the prices as people are dependent on northwestel because they have a monopoly. If we aren't going to get rid of private ownership of internet provision, we might as well have choice in which rich person (company) we provide an income to.
Participant 43 The fact of the matter is, there is only once game in town and that's Northwestel. There is ZERO motivation for them to improve services or lower costs because we don't have any other reasonable options. When Starlink goes online and other low orbit satellite providers come online it may provide the impetus for Northwestel to stop gouging customers for terrible service. 
Participant 44 Regulate Northwestel
Participant 45 Not fair to piggyback on NWTel who has the infrastructure unless revenue realistic. Too small for duplication of services. 
Participant 46 Affordability, reliability, and capacity for all users.
Participant 47 The loss of internet for those of us living remotely means that keeping contact with family will be more difficult, arranging contract work, finding clients, providing consultant services, keeping up educational programs, and then listening to CBC, getting the electronic version of the local newspaper, and sending a message like this will all be impacted. Internet service is really a vital part of most people's lives (as Covid-19 has shown) and for people living off-grid it is no less important. 
Participant 48 It is not so much affordability as accessibility. NWTel refuses to connect remote users.
Participant 49 Availability, reliability and Affordability
Participant 50 The factors are all related, but primarily the base cost for these services are not affordable nor reliable. A main reason for this is the monopolies held by single service providers in the far north, such that they do not need to respond or invest to solve these consumer problems, and still charge whatever they want. 
Participant 51 Northwestel has horrible customer service, is a monopoly, has poor infrastructure, yet collects lots of money through high cost passed onto the customer. We live 25km outside Whitehorse so only have 1 option for internet though the phoneline
Participant 52 High overage charges, nominal prices for telephone and internet, no competition, don't have unlimited plans for cell phone only for new customers, expensive, bad service, crazy charges for service calls was told by northwestel operator to call an electrician to do maintenance and reinstall wiring to house wich is outdated Becuase it will be cheaper to call them then a service call. Pretty bad when your own company reps are recommending going elsewhere for service. Ancient cable coming from pawer pole to house wich is way to low to the ground. We pay the highest prices in the world for these services. 
Participant 53 Growth, cost for services in general need for increased speed of data transfer) Need for greater bandwidth to support growing use of internet and cellular data. 
Participant 54 Accessibility is a first step! How do they have internet in Tombstone Territoral Park but not where I live across the Yukon River where the highway is maintained, a ferry is maintained and a large communtiy lives!

Also assisting in improving cost of cell phone plan in Canada… you can get a unlimited call, text and 20 GB international data for 10$ per month in Europe!!
Participant 55 All that were mentioned as examples represent what is wrong with the services here. Overages are ridiculous and exploitative. Unlimited plans are also expensive, but are necessary to avoid overages. And the speed bandwidth available  to Yukoners is just sad. 
Participant 56 The far north is remote and difficult to access. Investing in internet services that have comparable speeds, package sizes, and costs to what is available elsewhere in Canada is more affordable than building and maintaining roads to make our communities more accessible, and far better for the environment than constantly flying people out of their community. Internet access is a gateway to education, to employment, to health supports, and entertainment. The far north is at a disadvantage to the rest of the country, but Nunavut is at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the far north. More investments must be made to reach equity in services by greater investments in Nunavut.
Participant 57 I feel that the most important factor the CRTC should consider is reliability.  When I signed up with my ISP we agreed that I would pay them the price they were asking, and they agreed to provide reliable internet up to a speed 15Mbps.  I know I have kept up my end of the bargain...they haven't.  The internet is not reliable.  Whether it is being used for work or for entertainment should not be a factor, it should just work.
Participant 58 expensive unlimited plans with regular outages is my top factor for change. 
Participant 59 '- high internet overage charges
- expensive internet plans, whether limited or unlimited
- service provider monopolies
Participant 60 Forget about home phones....why are we talking about that. Cell service is the only way forward and businesses and students can not compete unless we have affordable, fast, and reliable services. 
Participant 61 Affordability is not the issue, the issue is accessibility. I have a place on the Ingraham Trail and there is not internet. Annoying
Participant 62 The service needs to be reliable with sufficient bandwidth for modern life at a cost that most households can afford.

Xplornet is turning off its service on December 31 this year and we will be cut off from the internet.
Participant 63 Making it available to all , off grid or on a grid, 
Participant 64 we have a business unlimited plan but the bandwidth speeds is not sufficient for any business that i think would use it! We are locked in for 5 years and the speeds are sub basic for the size we are. i would focus on making sure these long term contracts also enforces the provider to reinvest in higher speeds as 5 years locked in at a monthly rate for speeds is not going to work. 
Participant 65 I can't offer any real comments.  What I do know is, I get faster, better internet in Calgary for $40/month cheaper.
Participant 66 Increase competition in the market by providing more support to smaller innovators in the industry (including Ice Wireless and MVNO).
Participant 67 Installation fees are ridiculously high for what is 90% of the time, a guy running a cable 20 meters and then sitting in a car for 20 minutes. This should not cost almost 200$.
Monthly costs are too high, a minimum cost of 165$ a month is again, absurd.

To put this into perspective:

In the UK, my cell phone plan had: Unlimited data. Unlimited text, Unlimited calls. This cost me £7 (approx 12$).
In the UK, my internet service was: Unlimited data. 50mbs down, 20mbs up. Monthly cost: £25 (approx 37$).

So how does it possibly make sense for an internet plan here offering similar, to cost me $165, and my cell phone plan which offers me only 4gb of data, costs me $38 with data limited to 3g speeds, which becomes unusable if NWTEL have yet another issue with a fibre line.
Participant 68 Besides what I have already mentioned - the CRTC should take a look at the plans. Make them so that the user can have what they need.
Participant 69 Affordability and reliability of telecom services are key to ensuring the continued viability of communities in the Far North, and should come before the desire for businesses to make profit by exploiting those in the Far North who have no other choice.

Significant regulation is required to ensure that no one is left behind as the world transitions to an increasingly-digital economy. This is especially concerning for the Far North, as other opportunities are not available due to the remoteness. If meaningful action is not taken, Canada's presence in the Far North will likely shrink, which, when considering the progression of climate change, is a national security issue.

Furthermore, failing to guarantee that affordable, reliable, high-speed internet is available for all communities in the Far North, which have the highest proportion of Indigenous individuals of anywhere in Canada, is just another way in which colonialism continues to negatively impact Canada. 
Participant 70 CRTC should consider facilitating faster and more robust internet service because the average person is now being almost forced into doing many things online.  The Government of Canada is partly responsible as they have moved many services online and are encouraging (I use this term liberally) Canadians to do everything online.  For example, CRA wants Canadians to file their taxes online and have put in place a time frame where filing by paper will become very difficult.  And we are now fast approaching a cashless society and we can see the impact the Rogers system failure had on commerce.  No need to dwell on what would happen if our internet services crashed given the experience with Rogers and hence why I say we need a robust internet service.  But we also need faster internet speed to be able to complete the many requirements of daily life - like paying for groceries and gas, purchasing online (because we don't have physical access to the myriad stores and average Canadin living in an urban area has), filing taxes, confirming paycheque direct deposits, and making submission to CRTC.
Participant 71 In this technological age of dependence on the internet for all aspects of life the cost should reflect on the quality of the service being provided.  There should be more provider options available to the average customer regardless where we are located.  A more protected infrastructure would eliminate damage to it causing outages.   
Participant 72 Why must northerners pay for a landlines to access internet?  Why is our ridiculously high prices for terrible reliability and service?  Why does Nunavut not get the investment that NWT and Yukon get?  
Participant 73 If you're going to allow NWTel to hold a monopoly in the north, then at least hold them to some service standards or price cap. Paying hundreds of dollars for sub-par service, requiring customers pay for an outmoded and unused service (home phone) just so they can collect a CRTC subsidy for it, and providing unreliable and poor quality service that will grind to a halt services across the town and territory (for personal, commerce, industry, government) is completely unacceptable. Customers are held hostage because there are no alternatives, but the CRTC can regulate and provide oversight for the benefit of Nunavummiut.
Participant 74 Everything
Participant 75 Allow other companies to offer services.  There is no Competition, Bell Has a monopoly.  our choice is pay or have no service. 
I need the internet to shop (buy my children clothing, put in grocery orders online, for pick up in Whitehorse...) But the cost is ridiculous.
There is no point in downgrading my services, because I would save a little money for drastically reduced data. 
Participant 76 First and foremost reliability ... it is not ok to lose service and then have the provider tell you it will be weeks before they can fix the problem.  With no alternatives, Northwestel has no incentive to provide reliable service, or to ensure problems are fixed quickly.  
Participant 77 expenisve unlimted plans....inflation costs have increased the cost. Yes in 2020 Northwesttel gave everyone on a 350GB pkg a free 100GB free but its still expensive
Participant 78 Value for money is not present. Relative to pricing/performance/choice/ reliability we in Fort Nelson we pay more and get less than consumers as near as Fort Saint John. We are second class Internet citizens who pay for more than what is delivered. Our provider (Northwestel) sells a 125 package that  provides well below that at times (30-50 range) and responds to complaints that "125 is not guaranteed - the service provided is UP TO 125."  Unlimited plans are too expensive but are the only options to get acceptable speed while avoiding overage charges of $2/gig. Before I moved to an unlimited plan I had months in which overage charges almost matched, and in one case went above my regular subscription charge.

If Northwestel cannot provide better service affordably because of the cost of doing business the CRTC should consider providing financial support on a cost plus basis to them and/or any other provider who will. By encouraging competition, consumers would also have a choice of providers which would have more of an incentive to meet their needs more flexibility and with better customer service.
Participant 79 1. Establish a path to infrastructure based competition.
The CRTC should get all levels of government together to ensure that whenever any new infrastructure is built (public of private), fibre ducts are installed automatically. Over time, this will grow to a network of fibre ducts, lowering the cost for new networks to install their own fibre.
2. There have to be "unlimited" options for all internet access bandwidths. Currently, Northwestel customers are forced to pay for at least 100 MBit/s line if they want "unlimited" data transfers. That makes no sense. A 20 Mbit/s customer can transfer much less data - why can't they have an "unlimited" option?
3. Business tariffs are absurd. They should be abolished.
Participant 80 Just make it available period. Affordable, high speed, cell service AND internet services. Just. Make. It. Available.
Participant 81 Not stifling business and giving free reign for abusers (YG-NWTEL)
Participant 82 Bring in Starlink and force the corporations to provide service cheaper and better. We demand equivalent services as the south and it can and should be given
Participant 83 Reliability,  backup system when main fibre optic system goes down.
Participant 84 Work with communities to makes these plans. Maybe communities would like to own the means of production instead of being treated like passive agents under a monopolistic regime.

Improving Internet access - User submissions

Sometimes it’s more difficult for people living in the Far North to have affordable and high quality Internet compared to other places in Canada. You may answer one or both questions:

  1. In your experience, what is stopping you from having high quality, reliable and affordable Internet that meets your needs? 
  2. What do you think the CRTC should do to ensure high quality, more reliable and more affordable Internet in the Far North?

Participants responded to the prompted questions using usernames. These usernames have been removed from the results to protect participants' privacy. The responses are presented in their original format: No corrections or translations were made.

"The major thing that is stopping me from high quality, reliable and affordable Internet that meets my needs, is that all options on the market does not match southern Canada.

Iqaluit cell phone/cell data bill on Bell is $267.75. In Vancouver, the same options is $40.

Trying to leave Bell by switching to Ice Wireless makes my bill $153.94 for 200gb. We used additional data during Christmas to stay in touch with family, and it charged us an additional $47.61. Also, many times, Ice Wireless would have no network errors, causing me to miss calls with family, and zoom calls with coworkers.

I think the CRTC should ask telecoms to commit to maintaining and improving their infrastructure."

"Honestly, I don't understand why we can't have high quality, reliable Internet when we live just outside the City of Whitehorse limits. We have DSL5 (only option) coming into our house and two separate accounts to try and spread usage out. Cell data often works better than DSL5 especially for essential online tasks (working, writing exams, etc.). The most stressful time is around post-secondary exams. The slow upload and download speeds mean it takes longer to write a timed exam and twice, when ProtorU was needed to invigilate, the Internet was not adequate to write the exam."

"First and foremost, the CRTC needs to enforce some service guidelines on service providers.  Northwestel has a monopoly on services and is perfectly happy to leave a customer completely without service (landline, internet, television) for extended periods of time.  It is a shrug of the shoulder and saying they only go to your area on a specific day of the week, and even if you are out of service you will just have to wait until they can get to you.  If services are not reliable, maintained and fixed when something happens, it leaves a person in the vast areas of the Yukon (I am in the village of Haines Junction) without alternatives and very isolated ... especially in the dark cold months of fall/winter/spring."

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