Telecom - Commission Letter addressed to Stan Thompson (Northwestel Inc.)

Ottawa, 16 June 2022

Our reference: 8000-C12-201909780 and 1011-NOC2022-0147


Stan Thompson
Chief Financial Officer & Vice-President
Northwestel Inc.
P.O. Box 2727
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 4Y4

Re:  Request for Information regarding a major telecommunications service disruption in the North

Dear Stan Thompson:

Recently, various media have reported on a service outage from 11 June 2022 to 12 June 2022 in communities across the Northwest Territories. According to these reports, this outage was caused by damaged infrastructure in a remote location, which impacted various services including landline and cellular phone services, Internet, and the ability of customers to access 911 services.

In exercising its powers and performing its duties under the Telecommunications Act, the Commission must implement the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives set out in section 7 of that Act, including to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada. Accordingly, Commission staff requests Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel) to provide comprehensive answers, including rationale and any supporting information, to the following questions by 23 June 2020.

  1. Provide a complete report on the outage, including the cause(s), relevant timelines, services and customers affected over what areas, the steps taken to restore services, and any factors that impacted the company’s ability to repair the infrastructure and restore services.
  2. Referring to the cause(s) of the outage in your response to question 1, describe what steps could be taken by Northwestel to mitigate such incidents from happening in the future.
  3. In a letter to the Commission dated 30 August 2019, Northwestel described various acts of vandalism against its infrastructure that had caused widespread telecommunications disruptions. Describe any security measures the company has implemented or plans to implement to address the risk of vandalism to its infrastructure, including relevant timelines.

In addition, as the information requested in this letter is relevant to the ongoing proceeding initiated by Call for comments – Telecommunications in the Far North, Phase II, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2022-147, 8 June 2022, a copy of this letter and Northwestel’s response will be placed on the public record of that proceeding. Parties in that proceeding will therefore have the opportunity to incorporate this information into their comments.

Original signed by

Michel Murray
Director, Dispute Resolution & Regulatory Implementation
Telecommunications Sector
c.c: Christine Brock, CRTC, 873-353-5852,

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