Pathways to Technology set to bring Internet access to all BC First Nations

The Write to Read Project hopes to partner with Pathways to Technology to expand the scope of both projects. The installation of the new Write to Read Library in Nooaitch, near Merritt, will include teleconferencing capabilty, thanks to TELUS joining the Write to Read Project as a participating partner. Pathways to Technology (http://www.pathwaystotechnology.ca/home) will be working with TELUS on the new NooaitchElectrical library, as well as providing high speed internet to many other First Nations acorss BC.

Reliable high-speed Internet access for all First Nations in BC is the goal of Pathways to Technology, recognized as a high priority by several organizations including the First Nations Leadership Council.  In January 2006, the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) emphasized the high priority placed on broadband connectivity.  Broadband connectivity is also a key priority for the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) as part of their efforts to create a fully integrated First Nations clinical tele-health network.

In 2009 $40.8 million was granted to All Nations Trust Company by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada. That funding, for instance, has allowed for a new fibre optic line to be built between Port Alberni and Ucluelet that will connect nine remote First Nations with high-speed Internet service that community leaders say will unlock a wealth of business, social and nation building opportunities. The nine First Nations communities – Opitsaht, Macoah, Uchucklesaht, Ahousaht, Esowista, Huu-ay-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Ucluelet), Hesquiat, and Ty-Histanis – currently have no Internet access or only limited service. It is anticipated that the infrastructure build will be complete by early 2016, when work will then begin to connect First Nations communities to the broadband service.

While the majority of Pathways projects have focused on connecting one or two First Nations communities at a time, the program is also working with partners to enhance services across entire regions.  An example of this cooperation is the Coastal Radio Upgrade, which began in March of 2013 in collaboration with TELUS and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). The team set off to complete an overhaul of the existing telecommunications network on the central and north coast of the province, upgrading the Internet capabilities in the communities of Heiltsuk (Bella Bella), Klemtu/Kitasoo, Gitga’at (Hartley Bay) and Gitxaala (Kitkatla).

Write to Read has received queries about the installation of a library from many First Nations communities across BC. With Pathways to Technology bringing in high speed broadband to many new communities, the chances of new libraries being built becomes even better. For a video clip of this project, click here. http://www.pathwaystotechnology.ca/project-video.

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