Government investing over $4M to bring internet to Indigenous communities

The Northwestel operations headquarters building in Yellowknife. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff.)
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The Government of Canada is investing over $4.6 million through the Connect to Innovate program to bring new or improved high-speed internet to ten Indigenous communities, nine of which are in the Northwest Territories.

The funding was announced yesterday by Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“This investment in high-speed Internet will provide significant improvements in access to educational, health, social and economic resources for our territory and for our Indigenous communities,” said McLeod.

“I am pleased to see the building of these much-needed networks.”

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The funding will be allocated to Northwestel to build fibre-optic backbone in the community of Jean Marie River.

“This new fibre-optic connection will ensure that Jean Marie River has a reliable high-capacity Internet backbone for its education, health care and community needs,” said Curtis Shaw, Northwestel’s president.

“Northwestel is proud to play a key role not only in bringing fibre to Jean Marie River but also in reducing Internet prices for nine northern communities,” Shaw said.

Beginning in April 2019, Northwestel will also extend satellite connection to Colville Lake (Behdzi Ahda First Nation), Gamètì First Nation, Łutselk’e (Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation), Paulatuk (Inuvialuit), Sachs Harbour (Inuvialuit), Trout Lake (Sambaa K’e First Nation), Ulukhaktok (Inuvialuit), Wekweètì (Dechi Laot’i First Nations), and Old Crow (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation) in the Yukon.

In addition to the federal funding, Northwestel will invest $1.5 million to build the backbone network to provide reliable high-speed Internet and data capacity in each community.

 

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