Koocheching First Nation gets online with KA-Band satellite system

Jamie Ray, K-Net's Network Technician, flew into Koocheching on Saturday to install a KA-band satellite dish so the local school can once again get back online. This new satellite service is replacing the more expensive providing less capacity KU-band, two way system that was being used for the past three years. Poor weather conditions forced the cancellation of the charter throughout this past week.

The original plan was to fly in early in the morning and return that afternoon on the charter. But once there, Jamie decided that he would stay overnight and get all the units up and operating, as well as provide some training for Thomas Harper on using the system. This decision means an hour and a half snowmobile ride from Koocheching to Sandy Lake for Jamie to catch the only flight out on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday evening, after getting the dish operational, Jamie got the IP phone connected and started making calls to different people over the KA satellite system. Before this system was installed there was only one radio phone serving the entire community. The K-Net team will use this site as a test site to see how IP phones and web-based phone services (such as Skype at http://skype.com work on this new system).

Jamie and Thomas are also working together to expand the local service via a wireless system to reach several of the other homes in the community.

As the Ontario Regional Management Organization (RMO), Keewaytinook Okimakanak is working with First Nation schools across Ontario to provide connectivity and ICT resources using funding for this work from Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program. In addition to getting the KA-Band unit installed, the Koocheching school will be receiving three new computers, a printer and scanner under this program.

The wireless equipment and IP telephone equipment is being provided to Koocheching under Industry Canada FedNor's E-Community project that Keewaytinook Okimakanak is delivering.

Click here to see the pictures of the KA-Band earthstation and local wireless loop set up and operation of this new service in Koocheching First Nation.