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Ontario Bringing High-Speed Internet to Remote First Nation Communities

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Ontario Bringing High-Speed Internet to Remote First Nation Communities

Province improving access to education, skills training and business opportunities

Office of the Premier

THUNDER BAY — The government is putting the people of Northern Ontario first by connecting five remote Matawa-member First Nation communities to fast, reliable and affordable Internet service. Today, Premier Doug Ford announced an investment of $30 million in the Matawa broadband project that will benefit more than 670 homes and institutions.

"Our investment will make sure families, businesses and communities stay connected in these Northern communities, while supporting job creation and opening up more economic opportunities," said Premier Ford. "Our plan to bring better, faster broadband service to more Northern and rural communities is a win for everybody."

This project will provide modern and scalable telecommunication services to five Matawa-member communities: Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations. These five communities combined currently have less broadband capacity than a single customer in a typical urban area.

"People living in rural, remote and Northern communities need and deserve reliable, fast and affordable Internet connectivity," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "That's why our government is committed to connecting families, businesses and communities to the digital economy, to create opportunities and promote economic growth across the North."

The Matawa broadband project is part of Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, a $315 million investment to improve and expand broadband and cellular service. The plan includes a $150 million commitment to increase coverage in unserved and underserved communities, including remote First Nation communities.

"Our Broadband and Cellular Action Plan outlines how our government will deliver on its commitment to expand high-speed Internet and cellular access," said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. "These broadband investments will improve quality of life, create vibrant communities and drive economic growth in Ontario."

The Matawa broadband project will give communities access to education, training and skills development, as well as business opportunities to help the region compete in the global economy. It will also enhance government services, from e-health services to enhanced emergency management systems.

"This investment is welcomed by the Matawa First Nations involved in broadband development," said David-Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of Matawa First Nations Management. "This investment fulfils the last needed funding to bring high-speed Internet to our remote First Nations using next-generation technology that will dramatically improve their quality of life and serve them for decades to come."

Quick Facts

  • The Matawa broadband project includes the installation of approximately 800 kilometres of fibre-optic telecommunications cable from Wunnumin Lake to Aroland First Nations, connecting each of the five remote Matawa-member communities. Construction is anticipated to begin this winter.
  • Approximately 650 homes and 28 institutions (including schools, airports, band offices, health offices and police stations) across the five communities will benefit from broadband Internet access.
  • Canada and Ontario committed to bringing broadband Internet access to the five Matawa-member communities under the federal Connect to Innovate program. Ontario’s contribution of $30 million is a significant commitment to the $69.2 million project.

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