CRTC to review satellite Internet pricing in Nunavut, N.W.T. and Yukon

A report commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commissioned found that Internet speeds in Nunavut and parts of the North West Territories and Yukon are among the slowest in the country but people in these communities pay higher fees for the service than users elsewhere in Canada.

The CRTC said it will publicly review the maximum price satellite operator Telesat Canada can charge companies such as Northwestel and SSI Micro for satellite connectivity in these areas which depend on fixed satellite services (FSS) for Internet access. The report found that Telesat will likely remain the dominant provider if satellite services in the region “for the foreseeable future.”

In light of the findings, the CRTC said it will initiate a review of FSS pricing.

However, the Nunavut Broadband Development Corporation said lowering the FSS ceiling price is only a short-term solution.

The CRTC should focus on getting Internet speeds in satellite communities up to speed with the rest of Canada, said Oana Spinu NBDC executive director, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

He said, in 2011 the CRTC set a nation-wide target speed of five megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading and one Mbps for uploading.

The CRTC-commissioned report found that many satellite communities are below that target.

“How relevant is that target now when the Canadian household average is 29.7 Mbps download, according to the Ookla Net Index, or when the FCC has set their definition of broadband to 25 Mbps, or when the EU has a 30 Mbps target for 100 per cent of EU citizens?” said Spinu.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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