Keewaytinook Okimakanak receiving broadband investment dollars to support area First Nation communities
Tim Brody - Editor
Keewaytinook Okimakanak is receiving thousands of dollars from the Government of Ontario, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), for two projects which will benefit area First Nation communities.
The Government of Ontario announced on June 16 that it is investing more than $2.3 million in seven broadband projects supporting rural and Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario.
“This funding will connect northerners to reliable broadband infrastructure that will allow people to stay in touch with family and friends, access public services and work and run a business from anywhere,” a news release stated.
Broadband investments made through the NOHFC include:
- $139,130 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to secure an 18-month contract for extended satellite bandwidth for the remote First Nations of Fort Hope, Martin Falls, Neskantaga and Webequie until permanent fibre optic cable is installed.
- $110,942 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to upgrade broadband fibre optic cable and infrastructure in the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen community.
- $1,036,772 for the Corporation du Développement Économique et Communautaire (CDEC) de Dubreuilville to install fibre optic infrastructure from Wawa to Dubreuilville, as well as to plan and secure partnerships with telecommunications companies for future broadband improvement projects
- $461,971 for Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) to upgrade its fibre optic network and install 11 in-line amplifier sites between Sudbury and Thunder Bay
- $240,804 for Tbaytel to deliver internet services in the rural areas surrounding Thunder Bay, including the municipalities of Shuniah, Oliver-Paipoonge, Neebing and Fort William First Nation
- $232,500 for North Eastern Ontario Communications Network (NEOnet) Inc. to launch and administer its Broadband for Remote Areas program, which will provide grants to small- and medium-sized enterprises located in Northern Ontario to assist with the purchase and installation of specialized equipment that will provide two-way, high-speed internet service
- $173,000 for Mitaanjigamiing First Nation to upgrade broadband fibre optic cable and infrastructure in the community
“Now more than ever, there is a need to improve broadband services in Northern Ontario. For too long, the north has lacked access to high-speed internet with limited connectivity in many remote communities,” stated Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines in a news release. “Broadband is a key driver for economic growth, innovation and job creation and keeps our northern communities connected to their families and businesses. Our government is proud to support these critical infrastructure projects.”
“COVID-19 is increasing demand for reliable broadband service to connect Ontarians to their work, education and their businesses,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. “It is clear functioning remotely will continue to be a regular way of life and fast and reliable internet will be critical to bridge the digital divide in Northern Ontario.”