NOHFC provides funding to KO for community and regional telecom infrastructure

Everyone is invited to watch the live webcast of Minister Bartolucci of Northern Development and Mines in Sioux Lookout that took place this morning at 10 am CDT. Click here to watch the video as a Windows Media streaming file.

Minister Bartolucci was fogged in at the Sudbury airport so Diane Martin, NOHFC Board member stepped up to announce their funding contribution towards assisting 13 remote satellite First Nations in Northern Ontario to access additional satellite bandwidth in addition to five of these communities getting a local cable system to connect the homes, businesses and organization to this improved service. Four terrestrially served communities are also part of this project to complete the work necessary for all Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities to have broadband access in all these remote First Nations.

Geordi Kakepetum, Executive Director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak will be in Sioux Lookout to speak with Minister Bartolucci about this initiative. Keewaytinook Okimakinak (KO) is working these First Nations and their First Nations Councils (Windigo and Shibogama) to successfully implement and complete this work.

Thirteen of the First Nations participating in the project are already served by satellite connections. They are: Attawapiskat, Cat Lake, Eabametoong, Fort Severn, Kasabonika, Martin Falls, Muskrat Dam, Neskantaga, North Caribou Lake, Peawanuck, Sachigo Lake, Slate Falls and Webequie. However, the current satellite bandwidth capacity cannot meet the growing demand for services and transactions that call for high-speed connection.

The remaining communities of Bearskin Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Koocheching and Wawakapewin are served by land-based systems. These communities and five of those served by satellite, currently lack cable or telephone networks to connect subscribers to the Internet.

The K-Net project will address both of these gaps by:

  • increasing bandwidth by leasing additional satellite capacity for an 11-year period; and
  • overseeing the construction of cable and telephone networks to provide broadband connections to all homes and organizations in participating communities that are currently lacking this service.

A third component of the project will see a satellite earth station built in Montreal to support the existing earthstation that is located in Sioux Lookout. K-Net has a Memorandum of Agreement with two Aboriginal organizations in Manitoba and Quebec to deliver broadband service to the satellite served communities in those provinces. These thirty-one other remote Aboriginal communities are associated with the Keewatin Tribal Council (Manitoba) and the Kativik Regional Government (Quebec). For more information about this inter-provincial partnership called the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN), visit

In addition to the NOHFC and the communities involved, other private and public sector partners in this major project include Telesat Canada and other levels of government.