With the flick of a switch, the families and businesses of the Doig River First Nation are now able to access broadband Internet service in their community for the very first time.
Doig River is also one of the first communities to be connected under Pathways to Technology, a $40.8-million provincewide First Nations connectivity project managed by the All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO), with funding from the Province and the Government of Canada.
Previously, Doig River's Internet access was limited to only satellite and dial-up. Now, with better and faster access to Internet services, the Band and its 260 community members will be able to improve local health care, open up educational and cultural opportunities for children and families, and manage resources more effectively. As well, local businesses will be able to more easily expand beyond the borders of the community, creating jobs and greater economic opportunities.
In the next three to five years, the Pathways project expects to connect or enhance connectivity to more than 50 remote First Nations communities that currently have no Internet access or only limited service.
The Pathways to Technology project has also recently signed a $23-million contract with TELUS to connect the majority of these communities, many located in the TELUS service area. Doig River is the first community to be connected by TELUS as part of the project.
- The Pathways to Technology project was previously funded through $23.3 million from the Province and $17.5 million from Health Canada.
- ANTCO has contracted with TELUS, NorthwestTel and other private telecommunication providers to deliver the necessary infrastructure and expertise to overcome the geographic and logistical challenges of connecting remote and rural First Nations communities.
- In addition to funding the construction of the broadband infrastructure network, the Pathways to Technology project has established a $5-million Capacity Building Fund, delivered by the First Nations Technology Council, to provide training and support programs to give communities and new users the online technical skills they need to capitalize on the full benefits of the Internet.
- To celebrate today's milestone, TELUS has donated computers to Doig River that will be used by the Band and the community for education, research and training.
- Currently, 93 per cent of British Columbians have access to a wired high-speed or broadband Internet connection, and 157 of 203 First Nations communities already have some Internet access, making B.C. one of the most connected jurisdictions in the world.
- Outside of the Pathways project, since 2008, the Province has also provided $6.83 million and funded nearly 150 connectivity projects to establish the infrastructure needed to bring high-speed Internet services to over 210 new locales in B.C.
- Doig River First Nation is located 70 km northeast of Fort St. John. The Doig River community runs a number of businesses including forestry, construction, oil and gas ventures and ranching.
For more information on ANTCO and the Pathways to Technology project: www.PathwaysToTechnology.ca
Following the event, photos from today's community celebration will be available online on the Province of B.C.'s Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government
Pathways to Technology Media Relations
250 744-4748 (mobile)
Doig River First Nation
250 827-3776 ext. 224