The telecom giant Bell Aliant has begun offering charities and not-for-profit organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador a cheaper rate for phone services.
As of May 30, 2014 the phone company stopped charging charitable groups a business rate of approximately $53 per month for a single phone line for a more affordable rate of around $27 a month (numbers given to a Compass reporter by an Aliant employee July 25, 2014).
Other provinces in Canada have had charitable rates for years, but news broke in November 2013 that this province was not receiving the same types of offers.
This became an issue for a group in a small community on the Bay de Verde Peninsula.
A woman died at the Red Head Cove community centre last year where there is no cell phone service and, at that time, no landline.
Local volunteer Mary Riggs contacted Bell after the incident to install a phone so calling an ambulance wouldn’t be an issue again.
Riggs was happy to get quoted a good rate for a not-for-profit organization, but when she was called back a short time later, an Aliant worker told her the price had doubled because there was no charity price offer for Newfoundland and Labrador.
With that response, Riggs took the issue public, expressing concern that this province was not getting the same treatment as others in the country.
An email response from Bell Aliant spokesperson Katie Burgess on July 17, 2014 gave some background information into why the province was excluded to the offers in the past.
“Newfoundland and Labrador did not receive this rate until May because before phone companies amalgamated, the phone company which serviced the Maritimes had applied for and received permission from the CRTC to offer a non-profit rate for groups, however such a rate had never been arranged with the CRTC for Newfoundland and Labrador until recently,” she said.
Riggs is happy with the change, and is pleased she spoke up.
“One person can make a difference,” she told The Compass.
The offer is now available to all not-for-profit organizations with a registered charity number.
For those interested in receiving this new rate, call 1-800-663-2600 with your company or organization registration number for eligibility.