K-Net staff meet with Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong officials about broadband

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept 12 and 13), I travelled over to Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations to meet with local officials to identify strategies to develop local broadband connectivity solutions.

Grassy Narrows First Nation is working with North One Communications (http://northone.ca) to develop their community connections to the internet. Robert Williamson, Project Manager is overseeing the development of this local resource for Grassy Narrows. A local wireless network is now operational with both businesses and homes being connected to it by a local team of technicians trained by Richard Lajeunesse (Richard5205@northone.ca). Richard is the owner of North One and is a Grassy Narrows band member.

Industry Canada's FedNor's Telecommunication program is funding K-Net to support First Nations across northern Ontario to develop local community broadband solutions. One investment of these funds was to fund North One and the Crescive network to install two radios on Bell towers that would connect Grassy Narrows to the Kuhkenah Network. This construction work was successfully completed over this past spring and summer, connecting the community to a broadband network that supports video conferencing and high speed internet access.

The K-Net visit provided everyone the opportunity to learn about how the connections are working and how Grassy Narrows can begin working to develop local economic initiatives using these connections. Trevor Ashopenace is working at the local school under Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program. He is now working with Richard's and K-Net's team to get the video conferencing equipment and connections working at the school.

A meeting with the Wabaseemoong Independent Nation Chief and Council was an opportunity to introduce the concept for bringing a Bell Canada T1 connection into their community. An interest in working with Richard's team at North One and arranging a visit to Grassy Narrows to learn about their connectivity development work was expressed. Glen Cameron, Public Works Manager, is leading this work on behalf of the council.