Northwestel will be allowed to sell their unlimited internet plans in time for Christmas.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the federal regulator,announced Tuesday Northwestel would be allowed to offer their unlimited internet plans on an interim basis as of December 1.
The CRTC had previously said they needed more time to evaluate Northwestel’s proposal, without setting a timeline for when a decision would be reached.
“The commission considers it appropriate to approve the application on an interim basis prior to reviewing the whole record, in order to address customers’ increased internet data needs and alleviate their increased internet usage costs in the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the CRTC said in a statement with their decision.
The decision was made on an interim basis to allow the CRTC to consider how its “final decision can promote competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation.”
SSI Micro, a smaller competing internet provider who offer internet services in Nunavut and the Northwest territories, filed an appeal saying the prices Northwestel was proposing were anti-competitive and would hurt competition for internet services in NT.
“Northwest is trying to pull, what we can describe quite clearly, as a fast one,” Dean Procter, chief development officer with SSI Canada, said in a previous interview with MyYellowknifeNow.com. “This is a naked grab on their part to run competition out of the market.”
A cost study, which looks at the impact and sustainability of a product’s prices, was conducted for Northwestel’s internet plans by the CRTC at SSI MIcro’s behest.
CRTC noted SSI Micro’s appeal in their statement and also noted the public consultation process was ongoing.
The federal regulator did not give a timeline for when a final decision would be made.
In a statement, Tammy April, Northwestel’s Vice-President of Consumer Markets, said “it’s great to be able to bring new unlimited options to many customers in time for a holiday season, especially with so many of us sticking close to home.”
Unlimited internet plans will be priced similarly to existing high-speed internet plans.
Customers who pay for Internet with 125 megabytes per second worth of speed and Internet 250 MBps will be able to add unlimited Internet for $10 per month. Unlimited data will be available on 50 MBps internet plans for an additional $50 per month.
The plans can be ordered as of December 1.