Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 27, 2014

Resident frustrated by problems with internet service delivery

David Hedmann’s cable internet doesn’t work the way it should.

By Ainslie Cruickshank on January 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

David Hedmann’s cable internet doesn’t work the way it should.

It’s becoming increasingly unreliable, but switching to the DSL service permanently isn’t really an option – it’s slower and he would consistently go-over his data allowance.

The problem, as Northwestel explained it to him, is that the cables buried in Porter Creek are not protected in conduits, or tubes, and they have deteriorated, causing service issues.

“They say they can’t do anything until they dig up the road or dig up the cables,” Hedmann said.

He’s frustrated with the company on a couple different points.

He’s been dealing with the service problems for three-odd years and he was only told of the real issue a couple months ago, after at least a dozen service calls where Northwestel ran diagnostics, replaced his modem and adjusted cable connections. The work did improve the service for a period of time, but the trouble always returned.

Now, he wants to keep the cable service and have Northwestel’s DSL service as a backup for when the cable is down – but the company says it can’t provide the DSL for free, leaving Hedmann with three less than ideal options.

He can either stay with the cable service and continue to deal with intermittent service, which could cause problems for his home-based consultancy business. Or he could move to the DSL service, but Hedmann said that’s a tenth of the speed of the cable service, not to mention the data issues he’d encounter.

Option number three is to pay for both services.

Hedmann noted he’s already paying more for internet than other consumers who have access to more reliable cable service and can bundle cable TV, phone and internet, and isn’t interested in paying anymore.

Aside from his issues with internet service, he’s frustrated with the lack of information he’s been provided.

He has four questions for Northwestel, which as of yet the company has refused to answer.

First, he wants to know how long the company has known about the problems with the buried internet cables in Porter Creek, what Northwestel is doing about it, how many subscribers are affected and if the company has told those subscribers about the service issues.

The Star asked Northwestel a number of the same questions last week and received a statement in response.

“Aside from a 20-minute disruption last week, cable internet has not seen a major outage in Whitehorse in several years. If an individual customer encounters an issue with their service, we will work with that individual to remedy the situation, whether that is done through troubleshooting, a technician visit or substituting a similar service. Theoretically, a customer could subscribe to DSL as a backup, but because they would be subscribed to two separate services, they would be required to pay for both,” the statement said.

Northwestel would not say how many residences and business use cable service in Whitehorse, nor how many service requests it received in 2013 related to cable internet, for “competitive reasons.”

When asked how cables are buried without a conduit and what issues it can cause the company said:

“We can’t share information about our cable infrastructure, but over the long-term, what can happen in a northern climate after the wear and tear of freezing and thawing year after year is that the coaxial cable can become degraded. In these circumstances, Northwestel invests in repairs and upgrades its infrastructure.”

Northwestel also refused to provide specific information regarding its short and long-term plans to address the issue of cable internet service in Porter Creek.

Hedmann said he’s considering starting a petition in his neighbourhood and has placed a Kijiji ad to try and connect with other Yukoners facing the same problems.

By Ainslie Cruickshank
Star Reporter

CommentsAdd a comment

Jennifer Godin

Jan 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

In October Northwestel switched me over to a modem/router combination when my router stopped working. I thought it was great that I would not have to pay for a new router. Then my internet usage began to skyrocket. I got a call from Northwestel saying that I owed a huge amount of money for going over my 90 GB, which we have never done. For three months I told them that our usage had not changed. Finally, I told them that I wanted a modem (no router combination) and I would go out and buy my own router. Now we are back to normal, using what we used to use before they gave me a modem/router combination. They were blaming me for the excessive usage. I plan on bringing in a printout of my usage tomorrow to show them it was their equipment that was the problem. If anyone has a modem/router combination and is noticing their internet usage skyrocketing buy your own router.

Yukon Joe

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:44 am

I remember when Navigo wasn’t working well for me and I had to really fight to get the truth and get out of NWTel so I could get out of my long contract. I was told a variety of lies about the system. I eventually was allowed to switch over to dsl. I eventually found out they couldn’t get the system to work. Put your complaint over at http://www.nwtelcomplaints.com so it gets read by the CRTC and the NWTel board members. I wonder what it’s like to live in a community, knowing there is such disdain for the decisions you (board member) make that are strictly based on profits for Bell Canada and the other half of the shareholders. I guess the board probably has a bunch of shares too, so who cares - Yukoners are going to pay to play.


Jan 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Yukon Joe “I wonder what it’s like to live in a community” Well let me put it this way for you…Faro Airport operates on dial up.

john jack

Jan 30, 2014 at 8:48 am

this is ongoing old news get rid of nwt

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