Orange Technology issues a statement on NorthwesTel - CTRC decision.

Whitehorse – March 5, 2015

Orange Technology, Yukon’s fastest growing IT solutions provider issues a statement on the CRTC’s decision to adjust internet rates.

“We welcome the announcement that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has directed NorthwesTel to reduce rates on the ADSL internet service”, Martin Lawrie, Vice President of Technical Services at Orange. “In the past, customers who weren’t able to access cable internet (due to physical location or other constraints) were unfairly discriminated against by being required to pay more for less, compared to the cable internet service. While we certainly understand the business model that cable internet is cheaper to provide, therefore can be delivered cheaper to the end customer, we believe that it is unfair to penalize rate-payers for something out of their control”.

Lawrie, a former NorthwesTel employee, has long advocated for single-rate delivery of internet.

“When you subscribe as a new customer to internet service, you should simply be paying for internet. It shouldn’t be up to you to choose ADSL or cable. NorthwesTel should simply sell ‘internet access’ at various speeds and packages, and then based on where you are physically located, NorthwesTel would determine the optimal delivery method of that service, whether that be over ADSL or cable or even wireless. This would be similar to the power utility making the decision on whether to provide you underground or above-ground electricity services”.

Martin Lehner, responsible for Network Design at Orange, and also a former NorthwesTel employee, says that while the CRTC’s decision is beneficial for Northerners on a whole, they do not address the business sector. “The majority of these decisions reflect a required decrease in end customer costs for residential ADSL internet services. They do not address the gross discrepancy between residential and business internet rates. Historically, residential and business rates were different in the telecommunications industry because when you looked at local phone service (an ‘unlimited’ service), one could argue that a business uses their phone line more than a residence, so there is a possible justification to charge a business an additional cost. The business model with internet however is usage-based. You’re paying a monthly fee for ‘x’ amount of usage, be that 70 gigabytes of data a month, or 200 gigabytes of data a month. Whether that usage comes from a residence or a business is not relevant. Businesses, organizations and governments aren’t consuming more of an ‘unlimited’ service in this business model, therefore, having 2 different rates seems unfair”.

In southern Canada, internet rates are very close to each other when it comes to residential and business service. “For example, if we look at Shaw Communications in Alberta, the same internet package (relating to speeds) costs a business $4.95 more than a residence. However, the business package offers 20 additional gigabytes of data transfer than the residential package, so that needs to be accounted for as well”.

In the North, a nearly identical ADSL internet package costs a business $160.00 more per month compared to a residence. As comparable to Shaw Communications, there is also a greater data transfer allowance with the business package. “The discrepancy between the two is just too much, when we look at the industry from an overall perspective”.

“Hopefully, NorthwesTel will continue to make improvements in their service pricing and their business model”, says Lawrie. “Businesses, organizations and governments are relying more and more on internet services as digital data becomes essential to our daily lives and our economy. It is important that we continue to ensure that access to those services is affordable to everyone”.

Orange Technology is a Yukon-wide IT solutions and support provider, located in Whitehorse.

For additional information, contact Orange Technology at 867-332-5555, or e-mail