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Local Journalism Initiative

Manitoba’s Pine Creek First Nation second community to get high-speed internet[1]

Pine Creek First Nation will now be the second community to have access to high-speed internet. Clear Sky Connections (CSC) is launching Pine Creek FN to improve communications within First Nation communities during serious events and emergencies like natural disasters and the COVID-19 outbreak. The tool will also provide training opportunities for the community to understand and identify credible COVID-19 online news sources and assess information online while using media technologies such as smartphones, email and landline alerts. “Today marks ongoing economic development & training opportunities – a historic moment for us as First Nations, as the mandated organization by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to build the high-speed network, we launch our second fibre build to a southern site,” said Clear Sky Connections Chairperson Chief David Crate of Fisher River Cree Nation. “At the same time, we will implement a communication system to form a network within the community for the leadership to know which members are safe and which ones need help during any crisis.” Many partners were involved in this initiative including Building Manitoba’s Network of the Future and the Information and Communication Technology Centre of Excellence, BlackBerry, IndigenousTech.ai, Indigenous Services Canada, and the Digital Citizen Contribution Program. Together, they will install the fibre optic cable to Pine Creek First Nation and work with the community to implement the BlackBerry AtHoc critical event management solution. The solution will enable the community to alert its members of dangerous weather conditions as well as provide the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. “Pine Creek First Nation is both pleased and excited to be selected as the second First Nation in Manitoba to be receiving a new tie into the CSC Fibre Optic Network,” said Chief Karen Batson of Pine Creek First Nation. “Access to high-speed internet will provide our community with the opportunity to truly connect and interact locally and globally and will increase access to economic, health, education, and other socio-economic benefits. We are looking forward to working with CSC and all other partners involved in this much anticipated project.” Pine Creek First Nation is located about 110 km North of Dauphin along the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipegosis. Since 2017, Indigenous Services Canada has provided $7.7 million in funding to CSC for fibre optic builds. Pine Creek First Nation received a total of $1.6 million from the federal funding. Canadian Heritage has allocated 40,000 dollars to CSC for The BlackBerry AtHoc Crisis Communications Solution. “I have said it before and I will say it again…we are mandated to lead the fibre optic build to Manitoba’s First Nations and we will continue to do that, and build on all of our exciting partnerships that are coming to fruition,” said Chief Cornell McLean of Lake Manitoba First Nation and Chairperson of CSC’s For-Profit Partnerships. “We look forward to accessing additional funding and will be announcing more joint ventures within the next few months that show the rest of the world that we no longer come last and our youth will be the next leaders in this industry.” Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun

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