New Grants Advance Matawa First Nations Fiber Optic Project

Over 1,000 kilometers of fiber are being installed as part of the ongoing Rapid Lynx initiative

THUNDER BAY — New funding of $63 million from the federal and Ontario governments will allow Matawa First Nations to begin the next phase of a long-haul fiber optic network connecting member communities northeast of Thunder Bay.

Deployment of the Rapid Lynx broadband project began in 2020 after an initial contribution of $30 million from the province and approximately $40 million from the federal government.

Rapid Lynx will include more than 1,000 kilometers of fiber optics and provide reliable high-speed Internet service to residents and businesses in five remote fly-in communities: Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Webequie, Neskantaga and Nibinamik First Nations.

With funding for the next stage in place, it will build on the work already done in phase one and will see the deployment of nearly 300 kilometers of fiber optic cable connecting Aroland and the five fly-in First Nations to the road. from Matawa- access the communities of Ginoogaming, Long Lake 58 and Constance Lake.

A component of the project will also connect Nibinamik to Wunnumim Lake First Nation, providing a second connection to the Internet for path redundancy and diversity, increasing network reliability. Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM) said the additional funding will allow phase two construction to begin late this year or early next year.

The network will provide symmetrical speeds of up to one gigabit per second. MFNM partnered with US-based Magellan Advisors in 2014 to develop the project.

The company provides planning, engineering, grant development, implementation and management services.

CEO David Paul Achneepineskum said the importance of the project cannot be overstated as communities in Matawa continue to struggle with internet connectivity issues.

“Once complete, the Rapid Lynx network will be 100% owned, governed and operated by Matawa First Nations, allowing us to control our own digital future and provide affordable, reliable and affordable broadband connectivity for the first time. secured to areas that only had the limited capacity of shared satellite service before,” he said.

Achneepineskum added that Rapid Lynx will transform education, health care, economic development, job creation and safety in Matawa First Nations, and improve the quality of life for residents.


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