The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ordered Northwestel – part of the Bell Canada group and the dominant operator in the Far North – to lower the rates for certain residential DSL internet services by 10%-30% by 4 May 2015. Northwestel will not be able to increase any residential internet rates until the end of 2017 at the earliest, and will need to seek the CRTC’s permission before doing so. In addition, Northwestel will no longer be allowed to charge additional fees to customers who subscribe to standalone internet services. From February 2016 Northwestel must also lower its charges for additional data usage by at least CAD0.50 (USD40) per gigabyte.
In 2013, the CRTC found that there was limited competition in the market for retail internet services offered using terrestrial facilities in Northwestel’s footprint. Consequently, the CRTC decided that it would begin to regulate, on an exceptional basis, Northwestel’s rates for these services.