The CRTC Monday announced a consultation on the state of telecommunications in the North, and is in particular seeking input on the service offered by BCE Inc. subsidiary Northwestel. The consultation, according to a release from the regulator, is seeking comments on the affordability, quality, and speed of internet services, as well as mobile coverage and reliability in the north. The commission is also seeking input on ways to promote competition in the North. "The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the digital divide between Canada’s North and South," CRTC chairperson Ian Scott said in the release. "We would like to hear from northern Canadians about their experiences related to telecommunications services so we can help bridge the divide and ensure that they have high-quality services at affordable prices.” Northwestel offers the vast majority of services to those living in the North, and earlier this year the CRTC found that the elimination of a local service subsidy would "ultimately result in a material shortfall for Northwestel, potentially resulting in rates that are no longer just and reasonable for Northwestel’s residential local voice services." The proceeding launched Monday will consider the potential shortfall for the company resulting from the subsidy's elimination, whether Northwestel should be compensated, and what the regulatory approach to the compensation should be. The proceeding will also assess whether or not the CRTC should continue to place a price cap on the company's services. Comments are due Jan. 20, and the CRTC has put forward a number of questions it would like respondents to answer -- on the price cap and subsidies, on the condition of networks, and on the state of competition in the North.