Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Remote Aboriginal communities collaborate to access additional satellite bandwidth

Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net team is working with 13 First Natons across northern Ontario along with the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) representing 15 remote communities in northern Quebec and Keewatin Tribal Council representing 16 satellite seved communities in northern Manitoba. Together, these three organizations and 44 remote communities established the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN) to secure, manage and share satellite bandwidth to deliver a full suite of online services including telehealth, e-learning, e-justice, video conferencing, VOIP, etc in each partner community. For more information about this consortium, visit

Today's announcement from Infrastructure Canada is a result of more than 10 years of development work that began back in 1997 when Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff began meeting with Industry Canada's FedNor program about providing equitable access to bandwidth in satellite-served communities as that enjoyed by other Canadians.

Click here to watch the video of the webcast announcement (Windows Media, 33 minutes)

Infrastructure Canada News Release ...

August 24, 2007

Canada’s Government Provides $20.65M for Wider Broadband Access to 43 Northern Communities

Kuujjuaq, Quebec - Residents of 43 northern communities in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba can soon expect wider access to broadband service and its benefits thanks to a commitment from Canada’s New Government to provide up to $20.65 million to purchase new satellite infrastructure.

The announcement was made today by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Ms. Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, representing the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN). The NICSN involves a partnership among three Organizations: the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) in Quebec; the Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC) in Manitoba; and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council (KO) in Ontario.

“Broadband is a key piece of infrastructure for 21st Century communities to help support their economic growth and prosperity,” said Minister Cannon. “Canada’s New Government is pleased to partner with the Kativik Regional Government and the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network on this initiative that will provide residents with improved access to a wide range of services and will help stimulate economic development and enhance people’s quality of life. E-health and tele-eduation are just two services this investment will open up.”

“With the ever increasing use of technology in a very short period of time, we have witnessed an increased consumption of broadband use to the point that important services such as tele-health and tele-education could not benefit from this technology. Therefore, this announcement will allow us to provide these important services to the region,” said Ms. Emudluk.

Canada’s Government is contributing up to $20.65 million, or 75 per cent of the $27.5 million cost, for the procurement of two satellite transponders and the required earth station and local access network upgrades. The funding is made available through the Government of Canada’s National Satellite Initiative (NSI). The remaining 25 per cent ($6.88 million) will come from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund ($1.8 million), the Government of Québec’s Villages branchés program ($2.2 million) and Telesat Canada ($2.88 million).

This project complements an initiative of the first round of the NSI, which allocated one Public Benefit Transponder (PBT) to NICSN to provide service to public institutions in the 43 communities. The funding announced today will enable the provision of broadband services to all members of the community.

Financial support for this project is conditional on meeting applicable federal requirements, including the successful completion of environmental assessments required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the successful negotiation of a contribution agreement.

This is the first NSI project to be announced in Quebec. Two other NSI projects have received funding to date: one in Nunavut, and the other in the Northwest Territories.

Through its unprecedented $33-billion “Building Canada” plan, Canada’s New Government will help meet infrastructure needs across Canada through long-term, stable and predictable funding. “Building Canada” will support a stronger, safer and better country, through infrastructure projects that support cleaner air and water, a stronger economy, and a better quality of life for our communities.


Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary to the Honourable Lawrence Cannon

Infrastructure Canada
Communications and Promotion

Jean-Francois Dumoulin
Assistant-Director Administration Department, IT section
Kativik Regional Government
Montreal: 514-745-8880 ext. 246
Kuujjuaq: 819-964-2961 ext. 2343


Project Description
Canada’s New Government is contributing up to $20.65 million, up to 75 per cent of the $27.5 million cost, for this multi-jurisdictional project that will provide additional bandwidth to 43 communities in the northern regions of Québec, Manitoba and Ontario, serving over 46,000 people.

These communities currently have access to limited bandwidth that can not meet current or future community needs. The project announced today involves the provision of two satellite transponders that will provide bandwidth not only to public institutions, but to the entire communities they serve. To support this bandwidth, the project will also upgrade the satellite earth stations and local access networks within the communities where required.

This additional bandwidth will enable enhanced delivery of government services through e-governance; improved delivery of justice, education and healthcare services with the use of videoconferencing; and improved economic development and e-commerce for communities.

Canada’s New Government will provide this funding to the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) on behalf of the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN). The NICSN involves a partnership among three organizations: the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) in Quebec; the Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC) in Manitoba; and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council (KO) in Ontario.

NICSN currently operates a satellite network that provides the 43 communities with broadband capacity for public institutions. Each of these communities is equipped with a state of the art satellite earth station. A master earth station located in Sioux Lookout, Ontario serves as the Internet gateway and network management center.

The remaining 25 per cent of the funding for this project ($6.88 million) will come from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund ($1.8 million), the Government of Québec’s Villages branchés program ($2.2 million) and Telesat Canada ($2.88 million).

Project Benefits
This project will enable the provision of broadband services to all members of the 43 communities. Through this project, increased access to broadband will help to improve quality of life and social development. It will also increase the potential for innovation and economic development in Canada’s communities by connecting Canadians and improving the electronic delivery of public services such as health, education and government services.

Government of Canada Funding Sources
Funding for this broadband project falls under the National Satellite Initiative (NSI), which was launched by Industry Canada in partnership with Infrastructure Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency. NSI was created to make available affordable satellite capacity for the deployment of broadband services (such as tele-health, tele-education, e-commerce, etc.) to communities in the far to mid-north, and in isolated and remote areas of Canada, where satellite technology is the only practical solution.

ROUND 1: The Industry Canada Component (C-Band Credit), which is now completed, consisted of providing satellite capacity from Telesat Canada’s Public Benefit Transponder (PBT), valued at $20 million over 15 years, to deploy public and community-based services to remote communities.

Under Round 1, one PBT was allocated to NICSN to provide service to public institutions in the 43 communities. The PBT provides NICSN with 36 MHz of satellite capacity supporting 31 Mbps of usable bandwidth.

ROUND 2: The Government of Canada’s Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund allocated $85 million to the NSI to fund the acquisition of satellite capacity and common ground infrastructure for satellite-based broadband projects in isolated and remote communities across Canada.

Under Round 2, up to $20.65 million is being provided to fund two satellite transponders and to upgrade the satellite earth stations and local access networks for 43 communities in the northern regions of Québec, Manitoba and Ontario.

Two other projects have been announced under the NSI to date from Round 2:

  • Nunavut – $7.83M to provide broadband service via satellite to all 25 communities in Nunavut
  • Northwest Territories – $7.0M to provide broadband service via satellite to 31 communities in the Northwest Territories

Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network Communities


Barren Lands FN
Garden Hill FN  
Manto Sipi Cree Nation              
God’s Lake FN
Northlands Dene FN
Bunibonibee Cree FN
Poplar River FN
Mathias Colomb Cree Nation      
Shamattawa First Nation           
Sayisi Dene FN
Ste Theresa Point FN
Red Sucker Lake FN
Berens River
Mosakahikan Cree Nation          
Bloodvein FN


Attawapiskat First Nation
Cat Lake First Nation
Fort Severn
Fort Hope
Kasabonika Lake
Lansdowne House
Marten Falls
Muskrat Dam
Sachigo Lake   
Slate Falls
Weagamow Lake




KO's work in developing broadband opportunities highlighted in research papers

In December 2006, the Information and Information Technology Strategy Group in the Ontario Ministry of Government Services issued a “Call for Working Papers” to provide a state-of-the-art look at supporting the utilization of broadband for social and economic development in the Ontario context.  The papers are to be an integral part of a process of “open dialogue where interested community, academic, government and private sector partners can share perspectives, raise questions, discuss strategies for growth, and consider the challenges for public policy, government service delivery and economic and community development.”

The resulting papers are now online under the title "Toward a Broadband Research Agenda for Ontario". They include:

Cultivating Innovation in Farm Families and Rural Communities: Capacity Development for Broadband Use in Southern Ontario [abstract] [paper]

  • Helen Hambly, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph
  • Laxmi Pant, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph
  • Peter Sykanda, M.Sc.
  • John Fitzsimons, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph  

Broadband as a Commons [abstract] [paper]

  • Ricardo Ramirez, Ph.D., Communication Consultant and Adjunct Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph
  • Garth Graham, Independent Consultant, Telecommunities Canada, Victoria, BC
  • Fred G. Bigham, Independent Consultant; Former CRTC staff member, Ottawa
  • Dan Pellerin, Principal Consultant, Innovative Community Technologies. Sioux Lookout, ON

The K-Net Deployment Model: How a Community-Based Network Integrates Public, Private and Not-for-Profit Sectors to Support Remote and Under-Served Communities in Ontario [abstract] [paper]

  • Adam Fiser, Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
  • Andrew Clement, Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto  

Broadband Technology and Urban Sustainability: An Interpretive Review [abstract] [paper]

  • Ron N. Buliung, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto at Mississauga  

Learning from the Leaders: Understanding the Benefits of Broadband [abstract] [paper]

  • Catherine A. Middleton, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Information Technology Management, Faculty of Business, Ryerson University  

Social Network Transactional Geomatics Services for Participatory Democracy and Sustainable Development: Opportunities, Issues and Design Implications [abstract] [paper]

  • Tom Brenner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Renison College, University of Waterloo
  • Donald D. Cowan, Ph.D., Director, The Computer Systems Group, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo
  • Brian Harvey, Ph.D., Chair, School of Business, Conestoga College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
  • Fred McGarry, CEO, The Centre for Community Mapping, Cambridge, Ontario
  • Dan D. P. McCarthy Ph.D., Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo
  • Stephen D. Murphy, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo  

Broadband Infrastructure: Identity Management Strategies for Appropriate Access [abstract]

  • Todd W. Sands, B.Sc., Ph.D., Executive Director & Technology Strategist, Centre for Smart Community Innovation, University of Windsor
  • Jorgen S. Moller, B.Sc. (Electronics & Telecommunications), President, Advanced Network Technology Corporation
  • Darren W. Durocher, BCS, Network & Systems Specialist, Centre for Smart Community Innovation, University of Windsor  

'Network Neutrality' vs 'Network Diversity': Survey of the Debate and Implications for Broadband as an Essential Service for Ontarians [abstract] [paper]

  • Graham Longford, Ph.D., Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN), Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project (CWIRP), Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto  

Broadband for the Growth Research Agenda [abstract] [paper]

  • Charles H. Davis, Ph.D., E.S., Rogers Sr. Research Chair, Faculty of Communication and Rogers Communications Centre, Ryerson University
  • Florin Vladica, MBA, Doctoral Student, Joint Program, Rogers Communications Centre, Ryerson University

NOHFC executive director, board member and staff visits K-Net

Aime Dimatteo, Executive Director from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation office in Sault Ste Marie visited Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Sioux Lookout office on Wednesday, August 15. Accompanying him were Diane Martin, NOHFC board member from Sioux Lookout and Florence Bailey, NDM staff in Sioux Lookout.

A tour of the K-Net Network Operations centre and of the different network facilities provided Mr. Dimatteo with an opportunity to learn about how the Kuhkenah Network is managed and supported.

Along with the tour, discussions included:

  • an update on the recently NOHFC funded $2.8 million local community infrastructure development initiative and satellite bandwidth purchase; and
  • the Keewaytinook Okimakanak proposal to establish a cellular/mobile phone pilot project service in Keewaywin and North Caribou Lake First Nations.

Online survey about homepage users to gather information for research

An online survey is collecting information about the people who are using for their homepages. We are hoping that EVERYONE will take a few moments to complete this short survey.


Welcome to the online survey on! 

This survey is set up and maintained by Philipp Budka, a PhD student of the University of Vienna, Austria. Philipp is working with K-Net over the past two years.

He is particularly interested in

  • how homepages are used to share stories, pictures, and music with families, friends, and communities;
  • how people use their homepages to connect with family members, friends, and like-minded people.

To learn about as many MyKnet stories as possible, Philipp created this short online survey that he is asking all users to complete.

It would be great if you could promote this online survey among your friends, relatives and co-workers by sending everyone the link of the survey or simply by referring to the main page.

All information gathered within this survey is kept confidential and for scientific use only. Send your feedback and questions to

Thank you very much for supporting the survey,

Philipp Budka

For more information about Philipp's work, visit his web site at

Canadian Research Chair in Distance Education visits K-Net and KORI

Dr. Terry Anderson, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University, spent some time this past week meeting with Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff at the K-Net office in Sioux Lookout and the KORI office in Thunder Bay.

Dr. Anderson is working with the KO team to complete an evaluation of the Keewaytinook Internet High School ( The evaluation team is lead by Brian Walmark, KORI Coordinator. It is supported by KIHS (Darrin Potter, KIHS Principal) and Freda Kenny (KIHS Vice-principal) and K-Net staff (Brian Beaton, K-Net Coordinator and Penny Carpenter, K-Net Business Manager).

For more information about Dr. Terry Anderson, visit his homepage at

Upcoming Digital Storytelling videoconference - sharing and researching online

Announcing another important upcoming event ...

Digital Storytelling grassroots online videoconference

A Public Multi-Site Videoconference Meeting

Tuesday, July 24 10am Pacific, noon Central, 1pm Eastern, 2pm Atlantic

About the Event:

This meeting is open to anyone interested in making videos from a grassroots community perspective and sharing them online. We will discuss how we can promote and support digital storytelling and online video in First Nation communities and what will be necessary to support the production of more online videos.

For more information or to join:

Contact Lyle Johnson at 1-877-737-KNET (5638) ext 1387.

For more information on this topic please please visit

Click here to view the poster for this event.  Feel free to pass this along to anybody that you may find to be interested in this topic.

“Advancing the Green Agenda via Videoconferencing” meeting is online

The archive of the two hour meeting, connecting 28 sites from across Canada is now posted as a Windows Media video and can be watched by clicking on

Many of the participants in this session had several people attending the meeting at their site. The meeting provided everyone with an opportunity to learn about using videoconferencing as one way to support the protection of our environment.

Several comments were made throughout the meeting about learning from these types of experiences. The video archive of the session is a good way for everyone to take a look at what other people are seeing and hearing. The archived session provides people with an opportunity to examine the features of the session that are working well but it also gives viewers a chance to do some critical examinations on what might be changed to make the meeting that much more effective for all the participants.

Everyone is invited to visit to learn more about the VideoCom research project that hosted this event. Please take the time to LOGIN either as new member of the K-Net Meeting Space or to join this particular group (if you have any problems logging in please contact K-Net).

After logging in please consider posting a message in the discussion forum so everyone can continue discussing and sharing stories and experiences that were started during Thursday's meeting.

As well, as local champions it is important that everyone continues to “spread the word” by working with others so they too can know about this work and the opportunities that videoconferencing brings to First Nations.

Australian researcher meets online with K-Net and FNS teams

Michael de Percy, a Lecturer with the Government-Business Relations - Leadership Innovation & Change in the School of Business & Government at the University of Canberra in Australia met with K-Net and INAC's First Nations SchoolNet teams on Monday, July 9. Michael was in Ottawa researching Canada's community-based approach to supporting the development of broadband infrastructure and applications.

After the meeting he wrote ...

Just a short note to say thanks for talking with me today. I appreciate the trouble you went to in telling me your story - I am sure my colleagues will be intrigued by the success you have achieved. I will keep you informed of my research publications from this interview, but I suspect I will be able to use your operation as a case study on its own for a future publication, and definitely as a case study for my leadership and innovation students this semester.
Click here to watch the video archive of the information sharing session from this meeting (1:17, viewed online with windows media player)

Introducing two new employees at the KO office in Thunder Bay

Two employees who will working with KO over the summer months have joined the KO Research Institute (KORI) in Thunder Bay.

Under the HRSDC Summer Student Placement Program, Katherine Kakegamic and Sharon Brethour will be supporting online workshops, meeting areas and projects that KORI is working on during the summer months.

Katherine Kakegamic (Deer Lake FN band member) will be supporting the online workshops and web pages for projects including: Breast Cancer Awareness, Safer Communities and Economic Development. Katherine will be returning to Confederation College in the fall to continue her studies in mental health. 

Sharon Brethour (Fort Severn FN band member) will be coordinating and scheduling online activities and assisting with the KOTM Change Management project. Sharon will be attending Lakehead University in the fall to being the teaching program.

We are excited to have both post-secondary students share their knowledge and develop specific skills as they contribute to these projects this summer.

For updates and photos visit the KORI website.

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.