WHITEHORSE, YUKON (April 20, 2023) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) presented at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulatory hearing on Telecommunications in the Far North to advocate for reliable and affordable broadband services in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
According to the 2022 Price Comparison Study by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), residential broadband prices in Yellowknife were 48 per cent higher than in the South. Small business broadband packages are priced 130 per cent higher in the Yellowknife than in the South.
The GNWT’s opening statement to the CRTC touched on four key themes: Indigenous Reconciliation; Affordability and Subsidies; Quality and Reliability; and, finally, Competition and Wholesale Access.
The GNWT has been a long-time participant in proceedings before the CRTC, consistently making submissions in support of services for residents and business of the Northwest Territories. Telecommunications services are crucial for Northerners to access government, healthcare, financial, education and training services, especially in remote communities.
“High-speed, broadband internet access for all NWT communities is a part of foundational infrastructure that will support an improved quality of life for NWT residents and support the expansion and diversification of the NWT economy.
“Finding solutions and addressing issues around broadband requires an integrated approach involving multiple players. The GNWT’s statement delivered in Whitehorse is an important opportunity to remind the CRTC and Ottawa about the key issues with services, affordability, and redundancy throughout northern Canada and specifically in the Northwest Territories.”
- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance
- The GNWT was represented at the hearing by Deputy Minister of Finance William MacKay, GNWT Chief Information Officer Dave Heffernan, and Jason Doiron, Director, Governance, Planning and Security.
- In its statement, the GNWT called for:
- improved data collection in rural, remote and Indigenous communities;
- the establishment of a dedicated “Indigenous and Far North” unit of the CRTC to promote reconciliation, coordinate data collection and offer leadership on northern policy matters;
- portable, internet subsidies to close the gap between internet prices in northern and southern Canada for all residents and low-income households.
- A comprehensive approach to address network outages in the North; and
- increased competition, and ways to enhance competition in the Far North by introducing a comprehensive wholesale regime to provide greater choice in the Far North, as well as lower prices, improved quality, and new opportunities for local and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
For media requests, please contact:
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Finance
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 737-9168 ext. 15015