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Northwestel reapplies to waive March, April overage fees

Northwestel customers in Yellowknife and surrounding areas had a 'major' disruption in services on July 13. NNSL file photo

To relieve housebound residents ramping up internet costs, Northwestel reapplied to waive data overage fees last Friday.

In a submission to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the telecom asked again for the regulator to approve forgoing overage fees this March and April. The move follows Northwestel’s last application being scrapped because it tacked on other preconditions to its request to waive fees.

The request also seeks to double internet usage caps in satellite communities like Colville Lake, Gameti, Lutsel K’e, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Samba K’e, Ulukhaktok and Wekweeti.

In that request, Northwestel wanted to make waiving fees conditional on a subsidy that was in the process of being phased.

In the previous application, CRTC told Northwestel to take one request at a time and come back “without preconditions, so that the Commission may give this important initiative its immediate consideration.”

In the current application, Stan Thompson, Northwestel chief financial officer and vice-president, didn't reference the subsidy. He also noted southern telecoms like Rogers and Bell Canada have both already taken the step to accommodate a surge of customers working from home and avoiding social contact.

In his letter,  Thompson urged speedy approval to take the measures as NWT residents flock home amid the crisis.

“Given the urgent nature of the COVID-19 situation and the request to waive overage charges for this month, we respectfully request the Commission … to waive the usual timelines for interventions … and grant interim and final approval on an expedited basis,” he wrote in the submission.