Ontera began as Ontario Northland Telecommunications, and was the exclusive provider of long-distance in Northeastern Ontario until the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved long-distance competition in 2000. The name was changed to O.N.Tel Inc. in the 1990s, then changed its trading name to O.N.Telcom in 2000, and finally Ontera in 2004.
Ontera provides local telephone service in the Northern Ontario towns of Bear Island, Iroquois Falls, Marten River, Moosonee, Moose Factory and Temagami, and also offers long-distance services in most of area code 705.
Ontera owns and operates an extensive fibre optic telecommunications network throughout most of Northeastern Ontario.
Ontera provides customer premise LAN, VoIP and Internet security systems, DSL, fibre optic and wireless data services. Also, Ontera resells Bell and NorthernTel DSL and local telephone services, and Persona cable internet, in order to offer "bundled" all-inclusive communications packages to its customers.