The History of Telecommunications in the First Nation Communities of Northwestern Ontario: The Bell Fibre Ring

Getting connectivity to the north has been a complex process and one that KNET is dedicated to making happen for First Nation communities of the remote north.

But the process of getting fibre to communities can be a bit like trying to find the way to a Timmy’s via a very busy freeway. There are a multitude of things to consider before you can get your double double. The best on ramp, the best-off ramp, a back-up route in case traffic is stalled, if the car you are driving has enough juice to even get you there, and so much more.

Years ago, Bell worked alongside communities to install the Bell fibre ring. While there will always be upgrades that need to be done and more work to do, communities can now access up to 10GB of bandwidth. So, we are getting there, which is exciting!

The Bell ring of Fibre project steps have taken place over several years and some of the steps still left to take place in communities of the north are further down the line. Below is a rough timeline:

  • NAN and Bell built the Fibre Ring Completed in 2017
  • Reached capacity in 2019 – no more bandwidth currently
  • Required an upgrade to equipment and electronics, not the fibre cable
  • Phase 1A – Mishkeegogamang and Saugeen – Approved and complete Feb 2023.
  • Upgrade Project approved for the other 18 First Nations on the NWOBEI Loop
  • Expected Upgrade completed 2023-24
  • Communities can access up to 10GB of Bandwidth

Want to learn more about the Bell Fibre Ring and the history of Telecommunications in Remote First Nations of Treaty 3, 5 & 9? Post your questions in the comments below.

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