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Better Internet service crucial for Indigenous communities

2 9 18

The government of Canada has devoted millions of dollars to expanding broadband in Canada. But it’ll take more than money to connect all First Nations communities.

In rural, remote and northern communities across Canada, First Nations technicians are taking on Internet connectivity challenges themselves. Digital innovators like Bruce Buffalo in Maskwacis and Marc Awashish in Opiticiwan are climbing roofs and digging trenches to build local solutions, treating broadband as a community resource and enabler for economic development, cultural resurgence and language revitalization.

Money, distance and regulatory requirements are real but surmountable obstacles for Bruce and Marc. To thrive and grow, however, their projects need support.

From an urban-oriented business standpoint, connecting rural and remote First Nations is costly, with little to no return on investment. The societal payoff, on the other hand, is huge.

In regions without “brick and mortar” businesses and services, the Internet connects people to opportunity: to online services, health care, education and chances to innovate. With broadband, isolated First Nations connect to the........

© Edmonton Journal