New agreement expands services to First Nations communities

Nunavik gets faster, cheaper internet service


Monthly bills are dropping by $10 for Nunavimmiut who receive internet services from the Kativik Regional Government's non-profit Tamaani internet service provider, thanks to recent deals with the region's school and health boards.

Tamaani's high-speed internet will also become progressively faster over the next six months, due to an additional block of subsidized bandwidth from Telesat.

The KRG signed a deal with Kativik School Board earlier this month, renewing its internet service contract with Tamaani.

Under the terms of the deal, the KSB will also have access to video-conferencing, so the school board can deliver more distance education courses.  

The KRG signed a similar agreement with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services covering internet service and video-conferencing for tele-medicine.

The new services available to the school and health boards are the direct result of a related agreement signed with Telesat, Canada's satellite service provider in Kuujjuaq.

This agreement gives more satellite bandwidth and a greater range of services to 13 First Nations communities in northern Ontario, 15 communities in northern Quebec and 16 communities in northern Manitoba.

The KRG signed the agreement on behalf of the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network, established three years ago by the KRG, Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net and the Keewatin Tribal Council.

The agreement for multiple C-band transponders on Telesat's Anik F3 satellite means Nunavimmiut can tap into more services, such as tele-health, distance learning, e-justice, video conferencing and VoIP, voice over internet protocol, which allows users to speak long-distance via internet.

"Broadband connectivity will stimulate economic development and improve quality of life for our citizens through greater access to health, education and other government services," KRG chairperson Maggie Emudluk said at the Oct. 15 signing ceremony.

The NICSN-Telesat agreement is more $21 million in federal and provincial money, funding first announced at the Katimajiit meeting on social and economic development in August 2007.

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