Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff travel to Ottawa for meetings

Keewaytinook Okimakanak representatives met with a number of existing and potential partners between Nov. 26 and Dec 1 to discuss connectivity strategies and new initiatives. The main purpose of the trip was to meet and set up the goals and agenda of Industry Canada’s First Nation SchoolNet Regional Management Organizations (RMO). Carl Seibel accompanied K-Net o­n the trip because he will be providing local IC support

for the RMO project, along with Christine Cosgrove from IC’s Regional office in Toronto.

On Nov 27, Dan Pellerin and Carl met with Jeet Hothi, Marketing director of the Communications Research Centre to looked at the Milton project. This wireless technology is an attempt to build a low cost 32mbps wireless solution for low density subscriber areas. The intent is to have the transmitters priced around $10k with end units in the $100 range. Currently the project is working with limited funding. Additional funding could move the project up from a 12 month implementation to approximately 6 months. Funding is in the area of $100K. Marketing and production considerations can be had which may be of benefit to a First Nation organization or consortium. Transmitter sites are point to multipoint with intelligence built into the transmitters. Hub sites can talk to each other in the form of 802.11b. As sites are deployed they remember their range levels and as such they do not interfere with each other as additional sites are brought o­nline. Frequency ranges of 900, 2400 and 5800 mhz are expected to be available. The 900 mhz range is expected to have a throughput of 8mbps and 5.8mhz will have 32mbps throughput. End points are expected to be low cost with ethernet, power and rf built in that can be connected to a switch or a computer.

Recommendation: We take another look at this product as it could be something that

is deployed by a school or band office for teacherages, band offices or other applications.

The same afternoon, Dan and Carl met with representatives from FCNQ (Barry Kirk), KRG (Denis Beaudoin and Joe) and IC (Jacques Drouin and Carl) to discuss the needs of KRG and FCNQ for usage o­n the public benefit transponder allocation. From the outset everyone has been informed that there is not enough capacity to fully satisfy the needs of the FCNQ and that any CIR is to be application based with a small amount set aside for each of the partner communities. There is no large CIR allocation o­n the public benefit transponder for individual customers or for internet access o­nly. Additionally there is not to be two classes of access set up based o­n economic advantages. Having this all clarified up front, everyone looked at providing partner communities with 64K of CIR southbound and fair weight queuing northbound with DVB feed. Exact nature of DVB feed is still to be determined as the different partners work together to identify the best solution to address everyone’s needs and utilizing the strategy to establish the most efficient use of available resources.

Later that same day Dan and Carl met with Jeff Phillips of SSI Micro at a

restaurant where they both happened select. This meeting resulted in discussions about development options for the public benefit transponder and ways of maximizing efficiency of usage. The decision was made to look at approaching Telesat to determine if bandwidth could be swapped to provide opportunity to better expand the resource.

The next morning (Nov 28), Dan, Brian and Carl met with Frank Rosano, Wayne Lewis and Mehran Shariatmadar from the GTIS Satellite team. Discussions focused o­n strategies to see how the federal procurement strategy serving different federal government departments and programs could be used for securing connectivity solutions from community networks that meet minimum standards. Additional discussions looked at the possibility of K-Net becoming a supplier to the federal government. Frank Rosano has been tasked with working with K-Net to identify a business case for community and regional networks to be utilized by federal government departments and programs. A short meeting was held with Robert Vaive to discuss what could be done with the MSAT radios o­n hand at K-Net. The possibility of using them for voice communications was briefly discussed. Dispatch radio is an application that could be looked at for KiHS use. Dan promised to follow up with Robert.

Later that morning, Carl, Dan and Brian met with Lise Picknell, Smart Communities Program Manager, to discuss SMART community project claims and reporting procedures.

A lunch meeting with Bell Canada sales team of Steve Walsh and Steve Burton proved to be a valuable networking opportunity. Items of discussion included determining interest levels within Bell for partnering with K-Net o­n federal government procurement connectivity projects. As well, talks began surrounding mutually beneficial promotional strategies about successes achieved under the Smart Communities Demonstration project and community networking achievements. The second year national conference and the Regional Management Organization roles and responsibilities were discussed as well to identify future partnership possibilities.

Later that afternoon, Dan and Brian met with Paul Wilker, Carol Sage and Dennis at Smart Capital project site (Smart@Central) just before the CRC gate. This meeting resulted in the possibility of working with the Smart Capital project and their video conferencing site to showcase the K-Net project to international delegations and Federal government department folks who need to meet with others in the region. Together we can promote the Smart Communities project building o­n the work done by Smart Capital to showcase successes.

That evening was the informal meet and greet event for all the Regional Management Organizations. Some excellent connections were made with all the different groups and the regional IC offices across the country. In particular Pierre Gendron, the Director of SchoolNet and Christine Cosgrove of the Toronto office who will be working with us to ensure the First Nations across o­ntario are well served.

The RMO meetings began early o­n Friday morning with the opportunity to meet Ross MacLeod, the Director General of IHAD programs and invite him to travel to Northwestern o­ntario to visit Keewaytinook Okimakanak. The agenda provided a full day with good networking and sharing with each of the six RMOs selected to serve all the First Nation schools across the country. K-Net staff did a presentation about the work being done under the Smart Communities Demonstration project and how the work of the RMO will complement the migration of community networking efforts to other First Nations. Six dynamic groups with an mutual interest to work together to advance the cause of IC SchoolNet connectivity agenda.

Friday evening, Dan met with Surabhi Patel-Widmeyer to discuss strategies to support Health Canada, their staff and programs, to work with K-Net for connectivity rather than creating their own networks. Working with the National Nursing Association will be o­ne way to find new partners that could use the network to support the nursing staff in the First Nation Health Centres.

Saturday morning RMO meeting involved developing o­ngoing communication and development strategies and wrap up. K-Net did a short presentation about the national virtual conference concept and the opportunity to develop video conferencing resources in each of the RMO to improve communication between the regions but also to develop local capacity to demonstrate these essential communication tools. Dan Pellerin was voted to be the technical resource for the RMOs across Canada (that will teach him to leave the room before the meeting was over).

A Saturday lunch meeting with Jeff Phillip of SSI Micro turned into a full afternoon meeting discussing o­ngoing partnership and business opportunities to ensure we develop the most efficient use of the public benefit transponder resource. Follow up is required to discuss bandwidth and power adjustments with Telesat to make use of multiple transponders so we can optimize the use of this resource using the TDMA protocol and network management system. Recommendation that a meeting with a Telesat representative (invite Larry Boisvert) be held in Sioux Lookout to discuss the options and what Telesat is willing to do. This can support the long term implications and ensure proper direction is given to accompanying staff to support this work. Additionally we can use this opportunity to arrange for publicity o­n the public benefit program highlighting the successes achieved to date. FedNor and other Industry Canada officials would can also be invited to attend.

On Sunday afternoon at the Thunder Bay airport while waiting for the plane back to Sioux Lookout, Dan and Brian met with Howard Hampton to discuss both the political and community implications surrounding the use of Management Board Secretariat’s Integrated Networking Project (INP) to provide connectivity solutions for provincial ministries and programs. Follow up required with Howard’s office to identify possible strategies to highlight how INP and SSH can undermine community and regional networks such as K-Net.

Overall, the trip proved to be very successful, with lots of very productive meetings resulting in many new allies and potential partners to assist Keewaytinook Okimakanak in our work as the Aboriginal Smart Communities Demonstration Project.