April 1, 2020 |

NCF Newsletter - April, 2020

1) COVID-19

We hope this finds you safe and well during this difficult time. As an essential service provider, the NCF office is open but we have reduced our hours. Our HelpDesk hours are currently Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Our office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-5pm.

We ask that people only come to the office if they need to, including dropping off modems for testing or picking up a loaner. The best way to determine if you need to do this is to first speak with the HelpDesk by email (support@ncf.ca) or phone (613-721-1773 ext. 0).


We are experiencing a higher volume of calls and emails at this time, so please be patient. We are prioritizing those who are out of service but are working hard to get through everyone’s issues as quickly as possible.

When the office is closed on Wednesdays, or if you don’t want to come up to the office, you can drop off cash or cheque payments or modems to be tested in our lockbox, in the downstairs stairwell of our office at 1305 Richmond Road. This lockbox is checked regularly.

Our full COVID-19 Response Plan is here: ncf.ca/covid19

2) Rate increase

We announced a rate increase on March 4th that takes effect today, April 1st.

Here is the complete list of new prices: ncf.ca/pricing

This increase was necessary to ensure NCF’s continued survival. In August 2019, the CRTC dropped the wholesale rates we pay Bell, dating back to 2016. A month later, Bell appealed that decision to the Federal Court of Appeal and we continue paying the old higher rates while we wait for the court to rule. In the meantime, a number of Bell incentives have ended and our usage and other costs continue to grow.

You can find a copy of the text of the email we sent out here: ncf.ca/main/base/pricingchange/

You can also find it in your notifications log, here (must be logged into your NCF account): ncf.ca/ncf/home/tools/notificationsLog

3) Payment plans

We know that many of our members are facing tough financial situations at the moment. And NCF has always tried to be flexible and accommodate members who are working to pay-off outstanding balances while maintaining their current service.

At this time especially, we encourage members to contact us if they need to work out a payment plan.

4) Usage increase

We are proud that all NCF’s plans have been unlimited use since 2017 as we want our members to feel free to use the internet without fear of overage charges.

Here’s a graph showing the growth in median and average usage from January 2011 until February 2020.

Since that time, when COVID-19 forced many people to stay home and work at home, our usage has grown almost 25 percent in less than a month. Much of this is due to the jump in video conferencing and online video streaming services like Netflix.

We’re happy that we built a network that was resilient enough to allow for this unprecedented jump in usage – this is the effect of us buying new routers and making network upgrades over the last few years.

That said, the combined growth from all DSL users in Ottawa and around Canada is stressing the larger Bell network we rely on and may cause some slower speeds.

It’s also the case that many people are using more online services at the same time, which can cause slow speeds as applications compete with each other for limited wifi bandwidth. And wifi congestion may be worse from nearby households as everyone is trying to do more online at the same time.

We are doing our best to help with this. We also have some resources on our HelpPages (help.ncf.ca) including

Maximizing connection speeds: help.ncf.ca/Speed

Troubleshooting your wifi: help.ncf.ca/WiFi

5) Job postings: we’re hiring!

We’re currently hiring an Operations and Development Manager and Summer HelpDesk Analysts.

Check out the job descriptions and other details here: ncf.ca/jobs

Application deadline is Friday, April 10th and we will be reviewing them on a rolling basis.

6) Donations

Last year we started a Funding Drive to help support our mandate-driven work in the community, including the Community Access Fund, our workshops and other digital literacy resources. Thanks to all of you who donated! It makes a big difference and is much appreciated.

A few members have also donated lately, to help NCF as we offer crucial internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for thinking of us: we will put your donations to good use.

If you are interested in helping support our work, please go here: ncf.ca/main/base/fundingdrive/

Thanks too to our volunteers. Although they are not in the office with us at the moment, we appreciate their ongoing support and are working on ways to include remote volunteering (and remote digital literacy training) in our future.

7) Stay safe

Thank you to all our members, we wish you and your loved ones health and safety.

If you have a service or billing issue, please contact the HelpDesk by emailing support@ncf.ca or calling (613) 721-1773 ext. 0.

If you want to contact me directly, please reply to this message.

Take care and thanks for your continued support,