Infrastructure agreement providing greater broadband access to Northern Quebec communities



    KAWAWACHIKAMACH, QC, Oct. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Residents of the Northeastern
Quebec communities of Kawawachikamach, Schefferville, Matimekush and Lac John
now have access to high-capacity Internet service thanks to a joint broadband
initiative between Canada's New Government and the Naskapi Nation of
Kawawachikamach.
    The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, and Chief Philip Einish, President of Naskapi Imuun Inc., today
announced that the Government of Canada is contributing up to $4.7 million
towards this $6.27 million initiative. The remainder of the funding,
$1.57 million, comes from the Naskapi Nation.
    "Broadband is a key piece of infrastructure for 21st century communities
to help support their economic growth and prosperity," said Minister Cannon.
"Canada's New Government is proud to partner with the Naskapi Nation on this
initiative that will provide residents improved access to a wide range of
services such as distance learning, telehealth as well as electronic
government services and e-commerce. This investment is consistent with our
government's new long-term infrastructure plan, Building Canada."
    "This project supports the federal government's commitment to expand
broadband coverage across Canada," added Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development, Chuck Strahl. "The initiative will help stimulate
economic growth and contribute to the well-being of the communities."
    "The benefits of this initiative include the potential to bring vital
high-speed Internet access to schools, health institutions and government
offices, not to mention contributing to the overall sustainability and social,
cultural and economic development of the region," said Chief Philip Einish.
    The funding will help to bring enhanced broadband access to about 2,500
residents, 400 households, and more than 65 municipal and non-residential
buildings. Naskapi Imuun is working closely with its broadband and satellite
service provider OmniGlobe Networks, on the delivery of high-speed broadband
Internet access to the Kawawachikamach/Schefferville region.
    "We are proud to be the first community in Quebec to launch broadband
Internet services as a result of the government's National Satellite
Initiative," said John Mameamskum, Director General, Naskapi Nation of
Kawawachikamach, "Indeed, without the Government of Canada's contribution, it
would not have been possible for us to expand our Internet services in the
region."
    The new broadband service builds on the existing ground stations and
local access networks launched in January 2005 and funded through Industry
Canada's Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) Pilot Program.
It is expected to meet the needs of the region for the next 10 years.

    Established under federal legislation in May 1999, Naskapi Imuun is a
for-profit corporation that is wholly owned by the Naskapi Nation of
Kawawachikamach (the "Nation"). The Nation is a First Nation located northeast
of Schefferville, Quebec, with a population of approximately 850 registered
Indians, who are also beneficiaries of the 1978 Northeastern Quebec Agreement,
Canada's second comprehensive land claims settlement. As a successful
participant in Industry Canada's Broadband for Rural and Northern Development
Pilot Program and the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund's National
Satellite Initiative, Naskapi Imuun provides high-speed Internet services in
Kawawachikamach, Schefferville, Matimekush, Lac John. For more information,
contact Balgovind Pande, Naskapi Imuun's representative at 514-482-6887, or
visit the Nation's website at www.naskapi.ca.

    The Government of Canada's financial contribution is provided under the
National Satellite Initiative (NSI). The goal of NSI is to provide affordable
satellite capacity for broadband services in communities in the far to
mid-North, and in other areas of Canada, where satellite technology is the
only reasonable means of providing broadband access. The NSI is being
delivered through a collaborative effort between Industry Canada,
Infrastructure Canada and the Canadian Space Agency, in cooperation with
provincial and territorial governments.




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700;
Infrastructure Canada, Communications and Promotion, (613) 948-1148; Balgovind
Pande, Advisor, Naskapi Imuun, (514) 482-6887


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