Bell set to appeal Northwest Territories verdict

by Andrew Roach on May 21, 2013

2013 has not been an easy year for the Big Three wireless providers who have found themselves in the courts over several different matters throughout the year.

The latest problem has seen Bell lose a lawsuit against a customer in the Northwest Territories over a dispute surrounding a 911 service in the region.

In the court, the judge found that the customers didn’t actually receive the service which they paid for from the provider who plans to challenge the ruling.

Bell hasn’t had much luck in the courts in recent months having had their proposed takeover of Astral being delayed and forced into a haring following complaints from their competitors.

The problem in the Northwest Territories relates to the company’s regional emergency service which has been set-up following the lack of a 911 service in the region.

However, Yellowknife residents James and Samuel Anderson didn’t receive the service which they paid $9 a year for stating that it wasn’t available at all in the NWT, Yukon or Nunavut.

At the end of the case, Bell was told that they shouldn’t force resident to use a service that they can’t access and the company could be forced to compensate 30,000 customers in the region.

Despite that ruling, Bell did manage to escape further damage as Justice Ron Veale ruled that the provider didn’t have to provide the emergency service within the region.

The company are now planning to challenge the ruling as they feel there is no legal ground for the Anderson’s to launch a case from. These feelings were compounded by Bell’s media representative Jason Laszlo who told the press that “we will certainly appeal its decision on a matter that hadn’t even been certified for trial – i.e. whether customers in those areas are exempt from paying the fees charged to all customers nationally.”

It’s expected that the appeal could take place later on in the year with the matter potentially being sent to the Supreme Court should it fail to be settled after the appeal.

No matter what happens with Bell’s appeal, the ruling itself is a first in the Northwest Territories and proves that wireless providers such as Bell need to live up to their promises to ensure that residents in rural communities stay connected and can benefit from mobile services just like those living in more populated areas of the country.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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