Consultation on telecommunications services in the Far North

Current status: first decision issued

In its first decision, the CRTC is directing Northwestel to stop adding a $20 monthly surcharge for customers who purchase home digital subscriber line (DSL) Internet services without also purchasing its home phone service.

Read the decision about Removal of Northwestel’s $20 surcharge.

Another decision to come.

We invited comments on what actions we should take to improve Internet and phone services in the Far North.

Key topics for discussion

We wanted to hear from you about what solutions would best meet the needs of communities in the Far North.

What actions should we take to make Internet and home phone services:

Learn more about the topics for discussion set out in the Notice of Consultation.

A summary with key information is also available in the following languages:


Due to technical limitations, the Chipewyan version of the summary is only available as a PDF document. If you would like more information or request a copy of the summary in an alternative format, please contact us at

What we learned so far

What happened in phase 1

This phase of the consultation about telecommunications services in the Far North was open between November 2, 2020 and January 20, 2021.

What happened in phase 2

This phase of the consultation first ran from June 8, 2022 to October 6, 2022. We re-opened the consultation from October 24, 2022 to December 12, 2022 to include three other communities in the Far North:

A public hearing was held between April 17 and April 21, 2023.

We re-opened the consultation again from October 13, 2023 to December 22, 2023 to include Nunavut and Inuit Nunangat perspectives. We accepted:

Learn more about the topics for discussion, which are set out in the Call for comments – Telecommunications in the Far North, Phase II.

Ideas shared

Everyone living in Canada should have affordable access to phone and Internet services.

All Canadians should have affordable access to telecommunications services, especially access to the Internet. Most plans available in the Far North offer low value for money, especially Internet access, compared to the south.

Services should be reliable and allow for the same online activities as those available in the South.

The quality and reliability of services should improve so that people in the Far North can do the same activities (such as videoconferencing) as people in the south. Improving quality and reliability will ensure that people in the Far North are not excluded from social or economic opportunities.

People in the Far North want more competition with respect to their Internet services.

The circumstances in the Far North make it challenging to support competition that will improve the affordability, reliability and quality of services.

High quality and affordable access to phone and Internet services is important for reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians.

The solutions that we examine to better meet the needs of people in the Far North should be considered in the context of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Read more about the issues covered in the Phase 1 Call for comments about the state of telecommunications services in Canada’s North.

Related information

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