The Most Expensive Bandwidth in the World: Yukon’s Northwestel


We’ve covered the issue of Internet usage in Canada, along with the whole usage-based billing (UBB) debate in the following articles:

Compared to the rest of the world, Canadians are lagging behind when it comes to Internet prices. But whereabouts in Canada are people really paying the most? The Yukon.

Take a look at the following inclusion of Northwestel versus the world (here’s the original graph) added by Yukon journalist, Andrew Robulack. The pillaging of Yukon residents by Northwestel will bring you nausea beyond belief.

Below is the cost per gigabyte of bandwidth transferred:

Andrew goes on to write:

But, even so, it’s worth pointing out that at this level of cost Yukoners receive less service than anywhere else in the world for a far greater cost. And not just by a bit, but by a significant margin.

By how much is Northwestel marking up data to Yukon residents?

3¢ per GB [the ‘true cost’ to Internet providers]? That’s a chilling number, when you consider that Northwestel resells it to internet customers for $10. In a nutshell, that means that Northwestel marks up the cost of the data that it doesn’t even provide, but merely transmits, at a rate of 33,233%.


[Geek Life]


  • Fragilityg4

    Happy Capitalism.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Canadian Search and Rescue, and was up in Whitehorse several times the past few months and they charge a lot of money for wifi in the hotels to get less than EDGE quality internet! Not that I am surfing youtube or anything, but it’s painful to even check aviation weather for work…

  • Anonymous

    Cause unfortunately Rogers doesn’t work there… so had to rely on wifi on my iPhone 4

  • Anonymous

    Would be very interested to see bandwidth costs for Alaska. It’s right next door, and it’s almost as isolated… more so in a way: presumably their network backbone must run through Canada (if not sharing part of the same infrastructure to the Yukon as it goes through BC) in order to get to the continental USA.

  • Asdsd

    Ever heard of Economies of Scale, the Yukon Market is lucky that the government subsidizes everything or else we would still be stuck with 56 k dial up and house phones for eternity.

  • NWTelVictim

    Yukon Gov’t subsidizing internet? What r u smoking Asdsd? Why do you think the price is so high.
    By the way… has it been posted anywhere that BELL Canada actually owns Northwestel?
    Surprise, eh!

  • Chris

    It’s curious that this is based on what Robulak wrote rather than researched. Nothing about NWTel cable at all. Not that I don’t think what we pay here is high, but it’s nothing like what this chart represents.

    I am a fairly large user. (discovered by an unscientific discussion with my friends) I use between 30-50 gig a month and I pay $83.95 for that. This works out to be between $1.68 and $2.80 a gig. A far cry from what is represented in this article. As well, the article seems to dwell on usage of 100gig. Which I am sure is within the realm of some but not many users.

    Even with the 100 gig. On NWTel cable high speed extreme complete with overages, it would cost $124.95 plus $250 in overages, leaving you at $3.75 per gig. A far cry from the article.

    It should be noted that I have been contacted many times by NWTel suggesting a better service when I am paying too much and there is a better option.

    I dislike NWTel and Bell as much as the next guy (combined business and residential bills of about $1000 a month) but this article is extremely biased.

  • Doug

    You may want to take some of the figures you’re bandying around with a grain of salt. The 3 cents/GB cost, as well as the $10/GB fee are wrong in one case and misleading in another. The $10 fee is for over cap charges, a fee that applies to only about 5% of their users.

    As for the 3 cent thing, I’m not sure where anyone got that figure from. For example, Northwestel just did an internet backbone upgrade for the Yukon that was completed in July. That cost about $40 million for about 30,000 users, or about $1300/user. At the averate cost of an internet package here, that takes about 2 years to recover if they spend no other monies on anything (like employees, paper, building costs, etc.)

    I don’t want to be seen as defending Northwestel, which I’m not. However, it drives me bonkers when people just take some made up garbage as the gospel truth…. which probably explains the current government.

  • patinyt

    I’m not a BIG user- I have the mid-range price package for cable internet from Northwestel. My problem is that I don’t get consistent service. During peak use times of the day, my service drops off completely. Annoying -very and more so that Northwestel has been encouraging more people to move from ADSL service to cable internet AND promoting their own version of VOIP. I’d like to see what happens to the customer that decides to rely on that as their only phone and have to call 911 only to have their “cable phone” drop out of service. I’m just saying it could happen.

  • GeekyChick

    They have fibre optic running up the coast. Not the same infrastructure but excellent rates.. aroun 55$ USD for 75 GB @ 3 mbps or phone and internet bundles, no cap, for about $90-$100.

  • GeekyChick

    YTG has provided some funding for remote communities but NWTel gets some subsidies from the CRTC and is a subsidiary of Bell.

  • GeekyChick

    I see Andrew is on his soap box again spewing garbage and misinformation. Don’t you have a daycare to rip off Andrew? Wouldn’t your time be better spent hiding your assets under other peoples names?

  • Kerry

    Try $31.50 Per GB with SSI Micro ( Qiniq)!!!!

  • Same in the #NWT & #Nunavut!

  • Subsidies for Northwestel DO NOT come for the CRTC…. the CRTC allows Northwestel to take subsidies from southern phone companies (including Bell Canada, it’s parent company) to help defray the cost of the network infrastructure for the land line phone system but as Northwestel is a private company (100% owned by Bell Canada) no one knows how they actually spend that money…