Thunder Bay

5 northwestern Ontario First Nations testing Starlink internet

Five First Nations near Kenora and Sioux Narrows, Ont., will have better internet connectivity at their community schools and administrative offices, after a pilot project brings Starlink internet service to the community.

Phase 1 will bring internet to schools, administrative offices

Multiple Starlink satellites sit on their launch vehicle, after arrival in space. They're now bringing internet service to First Nations in northwestern Ontario. (SpaceX)

Five First Nations near Kenora and Sioux Narrows in northwestern Ontario will have better internet connectivity at their community schools and administrative offices, after a pilot project brings Starlink internet service to the community.

The Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council (AKRC) will set up two Starlink receivers in schools in:

  • Ojibways of Onigaming.
  • Wauzhushk Onigum.
  • Big Grassy River.
  • Northwest Angle #33.
  • Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nations.

The administrative office in each community will also get one receiver.

'Let's test it out'

"Every First Nation, or most of them, are in the same situation, where there have been promises of connectivity for quite some time," said Barbara Katic, with AKRC's education support services group.

"Let's test it out. Let's see if Starlink is as good as everyone says."

Katic said Indigenous Services Canada funded the first phase of internet connections into the communities.

She said that phase has a focus on learners, and not just students. Elders, students, as well as people in the communities who need to upgrade their training, including water plant operators, will also benefit from the improved connectivity, said Katic.

While the improvements are welcomed, she said, all levels of government need to prioritize ensuring all people within a First Nation have access to high-speed internet.

"Phase 1 had a specific focus to build a small bridge to close the digital divide. Phase 2 will close the digital divide."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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