THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM) has successfully secured funding for Phase Two of its Rapid Lynx long-haul fibre-optic network project.
The grant continues the work MFNM, a non-profit corporation serving the needs of nine MFN in Ontario, and Magellan, which provides services for building fibre and broadband networks. Work began in 2020 with an initial funding award for the Phase One portion of the project, which is currently underway, and consists of deploying wholesale and retail fibre broadband connectivity to First Nation communities.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure have awarded a total of $62.7 million to build on the work done in the first phase.
Phase Two will deploy an additional 289 kilometres of fibre and optical equipment connecting Aroland and the remote First Nations to the road access First Nations communities of Ginoogaming, Long Lake 58 and Constance Lake and provide broadband Internet access to approximately 500 more First Nations premises, indicates a release.
It will also connect Nibinamik First Nation to Wunnumin Lake First Nation to allow for a second connection to the Internet for redundancy and path diversity, increasing network reliability and resiliency along the Rapid Lynx route.
Magellan will provide engineering plans and oversee all aspects of the Phase Two project, which includes permitting, construction management and inspections, as well as grant reporting and compliance, adds the release. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 or early 2023.
“The significance of this project for the road access communities in Matawa cannot be overstated as they currently continue to struggle with connectivity issues,” said MFNM CEO David Paul Achneepineskum in a statement. “Matawa First Nations Management and the Matawa First Nations have worked together since 2014 to obtain support for broadband infrastructure in northern Ontario. When completed, the Rapid Lynx network will be 100 per cent owned, governed and operated by the Matawa First Nations, allowing the First Nations to control our own digital future and provide affordable, reliable and secure high-speed connectivity for the first time to areas that only had the limited capability of shared satellite service before.”