WC Internet company NorthWind closing

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

WEST CARLETON – A made-in-West Carleton solution to the rural community’s Internet service issues, NorthWind Wireless is closing its doors on Friday, March 10 after 17 years of business.

West Carleton Online obtained a letter yesterday (March 2) the wireless Internet service provider, based in Kanata but originating in Constance Bay, issued announcing the decision.

“We are contacting you as a valued customer, to let you know that NorthWind will be closing its doors effective March 10, 2023,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, due to competition, we have made the difficult decision to cease business operations as your Internet service provider. We want to thank you for your business and for the opportunity to be your local internet service provider for the past 17 years.”

Seventeen years ago, NorthWind’s first project was bringing Internet service to Constance Bay. A challenging proposition for a heavily wooded, property that is also one of the lowest in West Carleton.

NorthWind was one of the first Internet company’s to provide service to the West Carleton community. NorthWind expanded to Pinhey’s Point all the way to Quyon and Willola Beach as well as providing services in the March Road and Corkery area.

The company was also involved in the community. Roughly around 2016, the company ‘bought’ the naming rights to the Constance Bay community centre, through a donation to the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Association. The company also set up and serviced free community Internet wi-fi hubs at the NorthWind Wireless Fibre Centre, the Lighthouse Restaurant, the Kinburn Community Centre and the Corkery Community Centre.

West Carleton Coun. Clarke Kelly has heard from a number of residents since the announcement.

“I am saddened by the news that a long time local provider of internet services in our community has decided to close their business,” Kelly told West Carleton Online. “NorthWind Wireless not only brought quality service to residents but also played a key role in West Carleton-March through supporting the community centre in Constance Bay.”

The announcement, for those who have received a letter gives them seven days to find a new provider if they want uninterrupted service.

“There is no question that this is a big loss for the people of Ward 5,” Kelly said. “My team and I are busy working with alternative providers and discussing various options for those who are affected by this decision. Affordable access to reliable Internet services is extremely important for rural residents and my office will continue to work with any provider that is willing and able to serve the residents of West Carleton-March. I want to express my gratitude to NorthWind Wireless for their years of dedicated service and the care they have always shown for their customers and community.”

West Carleton Online spoke with a NorthWind customer who lives in the MacLaren’s Landing area of West Carleton this afternoon (March 3).

Retired police officer Mel Robertson is a longtime NorthWind customer and says, as of today, he has not received a letter regarding the announcement. But there was a rumour in the neighbourhood, this might be happening, and some residents had already been seeking alternative Internet providers. The choices are two. Bell or a company called Pioneer based out of Pontiac County across the Ottawa River.

“Many on this street are switching to Bell,” Robertson told West Carleton Online. “People who already have Bell seem to be okay with it. Bell has only been available the last year or two.”

Robertson says the news has “left me scrambling a bit.”

If he wants to arrange a new Internet provider from the comfort of his own home, he has five business days to do it over the Internet.

“I only have that short of time,” he said. “I’m not a computer geek.”

West Carleton Online reached out to NorthWind Wireless ownership from comment and was directed to the company’s main line. After calling the main line, West Carleton Online was greeted with a message very similar to the letter quoted above. We left a message and if we here back from a representative, we will update our coverage.

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