Northwestel has announced it will be shutting off its analog services in November. The announcement comes on the heels of a similar one from Telus, who has said it will stop providing analog services this month. Northwestel provides telecommunications services to residents in Northern BC and the territories. Anne Kennedy, Public Affairs Director for the company, says the shutoff is the result of Bell’s nationwide shutdown of their analog network. Northwestel’s analog services use Bell’s networks in the North to carry their signal. Kennedy says that the company is working on significant digital upgrades to its Northern BC networks. While she understands the switchover will affect some customers, the company also sees the need to serve customers who use digital devices. [asset|aid=227|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=Anne Kennedy – Cell Phones_1_Pub.mp3] Because digital towers don’t have the coverage area of analog towers, many remote oil and gas sites will now have to rely on satellite phones, a newer — and more expensive — technology. Bob Fedderly, former president of Energy Services BC, says that translates into higher communications costs for Oil and Gas companies. [asset|aid=228|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=Fedderly – Cells_1_Pub.mp3] Satellite phone handsets and airtime are both considerably more expensive than analog or digital, with the cost of satellite handsets starting at around 1500 dollars.