Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Northwestel To Offer Refund For Internet Slowdown

Details are still unclear about what form it will take.
Businesses, organizations and homeowners in downtown Yellowknife had major hangups in their internet service this week

Northwestel will reimburse customers affected by this week’s painfully slow internet, says Coun. Dan Wong.

It’s unclear at this point whether it will be a credit going forward or a direct money transfer for the number of days affected. Wong says Northwestel told him they’ll be clarifying this in the coming days on social media.

Affected customers are being asked to contact the Northwestel’s call centre line, says Wong.

The city councillor says he met with Northwestel’s vice-president of consumer relations and vice-president of government relations earlier today, after they contacted him regarding an online petition demanding a refund for customers that he started earlier this week. The petition currently has 130 signatures and 49 angry comments.

“I think it’s an opportunity for them to show that their customers matter,” says Wong. “But it remains to be seen how they’ll handle the refund.”

As the days of poor internet dragged on, Yellowknifers not only saw their Netflix consumption decline but also their productivity.

“It’s been really hard because we’re so dependent on internet for research and communications,” says Jennifer Broadbridge, Ecology North’s administrative coordinator, on Thursday. “We have lots of projects on the go, but it’s hard if it takes 30 seconds to email someone and you can’t download documents.”

This was echoed by Craig Yeo, the Union of Northern Workers’ communications officer: “My work is suffering, all our work is suffering.  I can’t get the information out about the Labour Day celebrations and I need to keep people up to date.”

When he spoke with EDGE on Thursday he said he was expecting a refund. “If ordered a meal from the Gold Range and they only delivered half of it I’d want half my money back. I don’t know why we treat internet different than anything else.”

The internet problem seems, for the most part, to have been resolved as of today. The cause, according to Northwestel’s director of communications, Andrew Anderson, “was related to radio frequency interference on one downstream channel.”

Oddly, when EDGE asked Anderson to clarify Northwestel’s position on the refund, he didn’t offer any details. Instead he reiterated what he had said earlier in an earlier email to EDGE: “Our long-standing practice is to look at the question of impact on the customer on a case-by-case basis, which we will continue to do.”

If you’d like to inquire further, Northwestel’s customer care centre can be reached at:

CustomerService@nwtel.ca

1-888-423-2333