This morning MPP Vic Fedeli and Nipissing First Nation’s Chief Scott McLeod met online to announce coming improvements to the first nation’s internet connectivity.
The project is a Provincial initiative designed to “bring high performance broadband access” to residents “within the boundaries of Nipissing First Nation,” Kerri Buttle explained in a news release from Fedeli’s constituency office.
The initiative is part of Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Program.
Representatives from Leapfrog Telecom also attended the announcement, as they have been selected to provide the broadband connections.
“Access to reliable high-speed internet is needed for all Ontarians, no matter where they live,” Fedeli, said, adding that “businesses, families, schools and hospitals in rural and Northern communities need fast connections just as much as in urban areas.”
The project will focus on five main residential areas within Nipissing First Nation—Garden Village, Jocko Point, Meadowside, Beaucage, and Yellek.
With CENGN’s funding, Leepfrog Telecom is installing a 100-foot non-ground penetrating tower, that is more environmentally friendly to install than other types of towers.
The tower will provide a range of broadband internet access services to the residents, with a 5GHz high-speed backhaul, 5GHz WIFI distribution, and 700MHz TVWS radio technology, which allows its broadcast to better penetrate trees and foliage.
Faster service is coming, with estimated download speeds of 50Mbps and up to 20Mbps uploads.
“CENGN is pleased to work with our partners to address the barriers to high-speed broadband internet access to under-served areas of the Nipissing First Nation,” said Jean-Charles Fahmy, President and CEO of CENGN.
“Reliable high-speed connectivity will enable a stronger local economy and new internet-based services for residents of the region,” Fahmy continued.
“By supporting and documenting this innovative solution, CENGN will gain a strong blueprint to help address the challenges of similar communities in Northern Ontario and across the province.”
Laurie Scott, the Minister of Infrastructure, reminded people “the digital divide is real, and it is magnified during this Covid-19 global pandemic.”
This new project will help bridge that divide and provide a more equitable internet access for rural areas.
“This is a tremendous announcement for Nipissing First Nation,” enthused Anthony Rota, the MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming.
“Broadband Internet has been an essential tool for years and now, more than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much everyone needs reliable access to high-speed internet.”
“Access to reliable and cost-effective internet services is no longer a luxury,” Chief McLeod said. “It is more necessary than ever with so many people working and learning from home.”
“Nipissing First Nation is proud to partner with CENGN and Leepfrog Telecom on this innovative and environmentally friendly project that will benefit 5 of our largest communities,”
Services will be available to First Nation residents by fall of this year.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.