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New Fibre Optics Network For Nishanabe Aski Nation

Archived Backgrounder

New Fibre Optics Network For Nishanabe Aski Nation

The Governments of Canada and Ontario, in partnership with Bell Aliant announced more than $81-million in joint funding for the Northwestern Ontario Broadband Expansion Initiative. 

This will bring a state-of-the-art fibre optics network to some 26 Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) communities in Ontario's Far North and will be cots shared as follows.

  • The Ontario government is investing $32 million $27 million from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, $5 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation
  • The Federal Government is investing $23.27 million $14.5 million from Industry Canada, $6.05 million from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada through the First Nations Infrastructure Fund and $2.7 million from Health Canada
  • Bell Aliant is investing $26 million

The 26 First Nation communities that will benefit from the new service are Deer Lake, Kasabonika Lake, Kee-Way-Win, Kingfisher Lake, Neskantaga First Nation (Lansdowne House), North Caribou Lake (Weagamow), Sachigo Lake, Cat Lake, Marten Falls (Ogoki Post), Nibinamik First Nation, Mishkeegogamang, North Spirit Lake, Poplar Hill, Sandy Lake, Slate Falls, Wunnumin, Webequie, Wawakapewin, Wapekeka , Pikangikum, Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, Muskrat Dam, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Fort Hope (Eabametoong), Koocheching, Bearskin Lake.

Quick Facts

  • The initiative was approved under Industry Canada's Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program and Ontario's Building Broadband in Rural and Northern Ontario program.
  • Two peripheral communities, Red Lake and Pickle Lake, will also benefit from the new services because of their close proximity to the planned fibre optic network.
  • The Government of Canada is moving forward with our Digital Economy Strategy, and rural broadband has been an integral part of the planning. We are committed to providing high-speed Internet access to Canadians, including those who live in rural and remote areas.
  • In year one of Canada's Economic Action Plan, we announced $225 million in funding to develop and implement a strategy to extend broadband coverage. By far the biggest component of this strategy is Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians, an initiative that targets Canadians living in unserved and underserved areas.
  • The delivery of broadband service to Nishnawbe Aski Nation will encourage economic development, spur innovation and improve the quality of life for residents here in innumerable ways.
  • NAN is one of 98 projects announced through Broadband Canada since May 9, 2010. The projects will soon bring high-speed broadband Internet connectivity to more than 250,000 households across Canada.

Additional Resources


“With over 30 projects completed and almost 30 more in construction across the province, the McGuinty government is building broadband partnerships. These partnerships help bring vital health, education, and business services to rural and remote communities in Ontario.”

Carol Mitchell

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“This technology is a powerful tool for enhancing the quality of life for Aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario. Connecting these communities through this state of the art network improves access to online education and health programs and provides the tools needed to create business opportunities in the modern economy.”

Chris Bentley

Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“Our government is moving forward with our Digital Economy Strategy, and rural broadband is an integral part of the plan. We are committed to providing high-speed Internet access to Canadians, including those who live in rural and remote areas, The broadband services we are announcing today will provide over 5,600 households in Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities with increased access to e-government and other online services, a chance for members of these First Nations to participate in the digital economy, and an enhanced quality of life overall.”

Greg Rickford

Member of Parliament for Kenora, on behalf of the honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

“This new fibre optics network will serve as a critical tool to connect Northern Ontario communities and business to the global economy. Having access to a better, faster, more economical broadband service will help NAN communities become more competitive and capitalize on emerging opportunities for economic development and growth. Ontario is proud to be part of this important initiative that helps these remote communities gain greater access to the global marketplace.”

Sandra Pupatello

Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade

“I'm pleased to support this important initiative that will assist staff who work in remote communities in the delivery of Health Canada's programs to First Nations people in NAN territory. I look forward to continued progress in the area of e-health and all the opportunities that tele-health brings to First Nations communities.”

Leona Aglukkaq

Federal Health Minister



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