Community leaders in the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation say a new high-speed Internet upgrade will unlock a wealth of business, social and nation building opportunities.
Earlier this month the 116 members who live on the reserve land, located just 25 minutes outside Prince George, were connected for the first time to the high speed broadband world.
Lheidli T’enneh is the latest community to be upgraded as part of the Pathways to Technology project, an initiative managed by All Nations Trust Company to bring affordable and reliable high-speed Internet to all 203 First Nations in BC.
The work was funded by the Pathways project, with support from the Province of BC and the Government of Canada through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Pathways to Technology contracted with external providers to connect the community and its residents.
“This was long overdue and it’s a positive step for our community to be engaged and informed,” said Chief Dominic Frederick. “It is a small step for our community members to be a part of the global society, and in this information age our community can further thrive and have access to technologies to which we had limited access in the past.”
The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation gained huge exposure on the national stage as the Official Host Nation of the 2015 Canada Winter Games, yet the community remained stuck in the technological dark ages struggling with outdated, unreliable and slow satellite Internet service and in some cases, dial-up.
All that changed a couple of weeks ago when the community was connected to high-speed Internet, and multi-dimensional access for free Internet streaming that will be used for education, job development, social interaction, and entertainment – a benefit that the most take for granted.
“We’re working to ensure First Nations people can connect with the world no matter where they live,” said Ruth Williams, Pathways to Technology Project Manager. “By working in partnership with communities and governments we can make sure First Nations have modern technology in place to create more education and training opportunities for residents, improve health care and power up local economies.”
The service upgrade has also created a unique business opportunity for the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. Acting as its own Internet Service Provider (ISP), the band will manage the broadband service and generate new revenue as community members sign up. This will also allow Lheidli T’enneh First Nation to look at long-term community planning with the infrastructure and fibre into the community for business development.
The Pathways to Technology initiative will connect or enhance high-speed Internet connectivity in remote First Nations communities in British Columbia that currently have no Internet access or only limited service. Reliable high-speed Internet access will help support opportunities for education, health care, culture, and economic development for First Nations people.
About the Lheidli T’enneh:
The traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh stretches 4.3 million hectares from the Rocky Mountains to the Interior Plains, and includes the City of Prince George. The word, Lheidli, means, “Where the two rivers flow together,” referring to the Nechako and Fraser Rivers, and T’enneh means, “the people”. Downtown Prince George and the surrounding neighborhoods now sit on the site that was originally the Fort George Indian reserve, established in 1892. The history of the Lheidli T’enneh is a big part of the history of the City of Prince George and the entire region.
Posted: January 21, 2016