Site visits completed in four First Nations to prepare for broadband connections

The First Nations of Bearskin Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Koocheching and Wawakepewin received visitors from Blair Electronics, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Shibogama and Windigo on Thursday and Friday of this past week.

Site visits are required to complete the equipment, site plans and community consultations in preparation for the construction of the local broadband connectivity solutions proposed for each community.

This construction work, described below, is being funded by Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHFC), Industry Canada's FedNor and INAC's First Nations SchoolNet. This Keewaytinook Okimakanak (K-Net) led project is being completed in partnership with the nine First Nations as well as Shibogama and Windigo First Nation.

The team from Blair Electronics was selected as the winning contractor to complete this construction work after a public Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued last month.

From the Request for Proposals that was posted on MERX on July 4, 2007 (click here to see a copy of the RFP) ...

The purpose of the broadband initiative for the nine remote First Nations, which comprise of

  • Bearskin Lake,
  • Cat Lake,
  • Kasabonika,
  • Kingfisher Lake,
  • Koocheching,
  • North Caribou Lake (Weagamow),
  • Peawanuck,
  • Sachigo Lake,
  • Wawakepewin

is to facilitate the installation and delivery of affordable broadband telecommunications infrastructure to the residents, businesses, and public institutions. This service will fulfill the unique needs of these First Nations and will be a partnership that will also take into consideration the training, support and sustainability issues of the project.  This service will be at a minimum, equal to what is considered broadband to the home commonly known as cable/modem or DSL service for the residents of each community. The final solution should be capable of providing and offering competitive monthly rates for users ($39 -$59) and higher end online services for local business and organizations, such as videoconferencing, VOIP,  telemedicine, etc.

This service will allow residents access to services not previously possible with dial up services. Telehealth, distance education, online research and file transfer will now be possible for those that utilize the service. For small business and public institutions remote access to centralized systems, application service providers and tele-work will be possible.