My Little Corner of Canada

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

by JOHN AMAGOALIK

We need competition in telephone service

When Candace Bergen says that anyone can call from anywhere in Canada to anywhere else in Canada for only 12 cents a minute, it’s not true. That’s because Northwest Tel has a monopoly (there’s that nasty word again) in the Canadian Arctic.

NorthwestTel and the regulators will not allow other companies to offer competitive rates, which are available to all other Canadians.

Granted, NWTel has had to make investments in hardware in the North and must have an opportunity to recover its investments. But you can only use that argument for so long.

They will also cite the higher cost of living, transportation, higher wages, etc., etc., in the North. (There’s that vicious cycle again). But there comes a time when things should be opened up to competition. The people of the North are getting a little tired of being in the stranglehold of certain monopolies. We need some relief from high-priceritus.

Another thing that really bothers me is the ancient pay phones (no-arm bandits) we have to put up with in Nunavut. These dinosaurs should be replaced with the spanking new public telephones we see in all other parts of Canada.

Northwest Tel is owned by Bell Canada, which in turn is owned by Northern Telecom. Northern Telecom is one of the biggest and richest high technology companies in the world. Surely, they can afford some new pay phones so we can throw those brown monsters in the dump where they belong.

We need competitive rates and some better equipment. All NoWhere Tel can muster is a new area code, which is nothing more than a nuisance to most of us.

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