Plan’s ambitions unmatched in North: NWTel
As it faces up to new competition in its market, Northwestel Inc. plans to invest $233 million in its telecommunications network to enhance customer services
As it faces up to new competition in its market, Northwestel Inc. plans to invest $233 million in its telecommunications network to enhance customer services.
The capital spending was announced today. The magnitude of the plans is unprecedented in northern Canada, Northwestel said.
Estimated to occur over a five-year period, it will provide northern Canadians with access to advanced Internet and wireless networks.
“We have developed a modernization plan that delivers for our communities,” said Paul Flaherty, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
“In addition to supplying more northern communities with enhanced services, the plan puts in place measures to facilitate competition and builds on partnerships with other parties.
“The Northwestel plan outlines how we will bring next-generation wireless and broadband services to the North and essentially reduce distances with technology.”
The plan, Flaherty said, “puts northerners first and provides our customers with access to modern and innovative services.”
Northwestel’s $230-million investment will be allocated to support core infrastructure and to upgrade and expand new services by:
• Bringing 3G wireless broadband service to an additional 67 northern communities, enabling 99 per cent of northerners to access the latest handsets, smartphones and tablets;
• Upgrading existing wireline digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable infrastructure to at least double Internet speeds in 58 communities across northern Canada within five years;
• Delivering enhanced calling features, including call display, to all 96 communities in Northwestel’s operating area, which encompasses the three territories and some communities in northern Alberta and northern B.C.; and
• Enabling 84 per cent of the northern population to keep their phone numbers if they choose to switch to another service provider.
“The team at Northwestel is excited by the opportunity to implement this modernization plan and provide the communities we serve and our customers with an unprecedented level of service,” said Flaherty.
“We are working continuously to put our customers first at Northwestel and are committed to providing these new services over the next few years.
“We are working to ensure the customer is the winner as a result of this modernization plan.”
This will be the most ambitious expansion of communications technology ever undertaken in northern Canada.
It will provide Northwestel’s customers with leading-edge telecommunications services, said the company, which employs about 600 northerners.
On Wednesday, Northwestel submitted its modernization plan to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
It will be available on the company’s website at http://www.nwtel.ca.
Members of the public are invited to submit comments to the CRTC and “support the plan,” Northwestel said.
The company has posted the details on how to participate in the CRTC process on its site.