Monday, 12 November 2012

Digital divide: The high costs of Arctic broadband

"....In concluding its review of the situation [in the North] last fall,
the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission found
things to be dire indeed. Aging networks, service outages, prohibitive
costs – the hallmarks of a neglected region. The culprit: a regulated
monopoly by incumbent provider Northwestel.
The company, owned by Bell Canada Enterprises since 1988, has historically
been the sole provider of Internet and phone services in the territories.
In its review, the CRTC said Northwestel had failed to make necessary
investments in its network despite receiving an annual subsidy of
$20-million since 2007 to provide services in remote communities.
Over that same time, the company's annual income from operations had
nearly doubled, to $69.3-million in 2010. The company, according to the
CRTC, had unjustly enriched its shareholders at the expense of the 100,000
people it had been charged with serving...."

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