December 23, 2016

First Nations to access world-class mobile and residential Internet, following historic CRTC decision.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has declared broadband Internet a basic telecommunications service. This recent decision promises to connect First Nations communities, making a positive step forward in closing the digital divide.

First Nations represent the most rural, remote and underserved communities in Canada. Internet access is far too often either unavailable or unaffordable. This leaves most First Nations communities in British Columbia unable to access emergency services; access to modern health care, access to education technology and innovation as well as economic development opportunities in a knowledge based and connected economy.

CRTC’s investment of $750 million will support the development of broadband infrastructure that will serve 100% of the population at a new network speed of 50 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. First Nations communities will benefit exponentially from more affordable, equitable access to this basic service.

The First Nations Technology Council has a mandate from BC’s First Nations to ensure each community has the connectivity, services and capacity to fully utilize the benefits of digital technology. The Technology Council has worked diligently with provincial and national partners leading up to this decision and will continue to work with the CRTC and partners to ensure the framework and deployment of the infrastructure and services take into account BC’s unique geographic challenges and number of communities to be connected.

“We will work to ensure First Nations are factored into the federal funding commitments and included in all planning and deployment work.” Commented Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Technology Council. 

“This decision will be a critical lever in advancing better, faster, more affordable connectivity to BC’s First Nations communities.  The state of connectivity in this province is currently completely inadequate and I look forward to working through innovative new solutions.” Denise Williams, Executive Director First Nations Technology Council

First Mile Connectivity Consortium Press Release available here.


Next Steps

As this initiative moves forward, The First Nations Technology is seeking to get an accurate and unbiased understanding of current connectivity status in the 203 communities in BC. 

We need your help by sharing your current connectivity speed. How to do this?

1. Click the button below to complete the speed test. Even better - check from multiple places such as band office, health centre, your home.

2. Send us a message here and be sure to include your community name, test location and the speed test results link. Depending on your browser, it will look like one of the images below.

Speed test

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or it will look like:

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We will not share personalized data and it will be kept in our secure database.