Stories of First Nations building, owning, controlling, accessing local community fibre networks

As Bell Aliant rolls out the NAN First Nation funded fibre cable transport connecting the remote First Nations across Northwestern Ontario, the First Nations are now connecting their administration buildings using their own fibre cable along with their local coax cable networks to this fibre backbone. The First Nations of Poplar Hill, Keewaywin and North Spirit Lake now have their community owned fibre cable connecting their cellular, band administration, health centre and cable headend buildings thanks to the technical team at KO-KNET who completed these connections after the Bell Aliant crews placed the community-owned fibre in these First Nations. Pictures of this work being completed are available online at:

  • Keewaywin First Nation Fibre Termination Photos

  • North Spirit Lake First Nation Fibre Termination Photos

  • Poplar Hill First Nation Fibre Termination Photos

  • Slate Falls First Nation Fibre 100Mb POP
  • Cat Lake First Nation Fibre 100Mb POP

  • Other stories of First Nations rolling out their own fibre cable networks are available at the FIRST MILE web site at Some of these include:

  • Tour K'atl'odeeche's community fibre optic network

  • The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) Network

  • The Saugeen First Nation Fibre-optic Network
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    Atlantic First Nation Fibre Optic Project - reaching the First Nations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

    "First Nation communities own all of the infrastructure in their communities, including the racks, the switches, routers, sfp converters, and the fibre optic cables on the poles used to connect on-reserve buildings."

    In New Brunswick, the First Nations participating in this project inlcude:

    Eel Ground
    Eel River Bar
    Elsipogtog (Big Cove)
    Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church)
    Fort Folly
    Indian Island
    Metepenagiag (Red Bank)
    St. Mary's

    In Nova Scotia, the First Nations participating in this project inlcude:

    Annapolis Valley
    Bear River
    Indian Brook (Shubenacadie)
    Paqtnkek (Afton)
    Pictou Landing
    Potlotek (Chapel Island)
    We'koqma'q (Waycobah)

    In Prince Edward Island, the First Nations participating in this project inlcude:

    Scotchfort (Abegweit)
    Lennox Island


    From First Nations Education Council web site

    Installing fibre optics in all FNEC-member communities.

    Work continues to complete the installation in all of the 7 member communities outlined in Phase 1 of project.
    The installation of fibre optics has been completed in Gesgapegiag, Listuguj, Kitigan Zibi, Odanak, Wôlinak, and Wendake.

    Work remaining in Phase 1: Wemotaci installation, and upgrading of Internet services in Odanak and Wôlinak.

    A new fibre optic installation is planned in Kanesatake.

    The FNEC is seeking funding in order to complete certain external (Internet) upgrades within Phase 1 and install fibre optic networks in the remaining communities in Phase 2 which include; Barriere Lake, Cacouna, Gespeg, Opitciwan, and Viger.


    And then there is the story about the farmers in England taking matters into their own hands ...



    UK Farmers Build Fiber

     Feb 16, 2013 by 

    Now this is some can-do spirit we can all admire. BBC News reports that the rural United Kingdom farming community of Lancashire has built its own fiber network with an all-volunteer troupe of workers who are digging trenches and laying down fiber optics cables. The community is calling its project B4RN, or Broadband for the Rural North, and it's pledging to "build a community-owned gigabit Fibre To The Home (FTTH) network in the scarcely populated, deeply rural uplands of Lancashire in the north west of England utilising the skills, time, energy and ingenuity of the local residents and businesses."

    BBC News says that the group has "exploited all sorts of local expertise - from the Lancaster University professor who is an expert in computer networks to the farmer's wife who has just retired from a career in IT support" and has also gained "cooperation of local landowners" for "free access to fields." The result of all this hard work is a super-fast fiber network that can get download speeds of over 900Mbps and upload speeds of more than 500Mbps.

    Trevor Manton, a resident of nearby village Arkholme, tells BBC News that the fiber network will deliver an enormous boost compared to his current service, which he calls "a diabolical service for uploading and downloading attachments" that doesn't function at all "when children are home." For rural users in the United States who are still trapped in AOL dial-up hell, Manton's situation is all too familiar. But as the community of Lancashire has shown, where there's a will, there's most definitely a way.