What is the Pathways to Technology project?

Pathways to Technology, a project managed by All Nations Trust Company, is an initiative to bring affordable and reliable high-speed connectivity to all 203 First Nations in BC.  

It is the largest and most complex First Nations connectivity initiative underway in Canada.

How many First Nations in BC currently have some form of connectivity?

As of April 2015, 190 First Nations communities in British Columbia have access to high-speed internet. That’s an increase of 54% since the project first broke ground in 2009. 

Many of the remaining communities have the backbone of a broadband connection in place, with only the local hardware installation and network development still to be completed.

How will the Pathways project benefit First Nation communities?

Pathways to Technology is bridging the digital divide to improve the lives of First Nations and Indigenous people in BC.  Affordable high-speed internet access will increase education and training opportunities for residents, improve health care, and power up local economies.

That’s just the beginning. Learn more about the many Benefits of Broadband.

What groups are involved in the Pathways project?

All Nations Trust Company manages the Pathways to Technology project, with funding from the Province of BC and the Government of Canada. 

A broad-based advisory group of First Nations and government technology, health, education, emergency services, economic development, and language & culture agencies provide input on strategic planning and technical issues. See our Project Partners.

Will better connectivity make Telehealth more widely available in First Nations Health Centres?

telehealthThe Pathways team coordinates closely with the First Nations Health Authority when planning each new upgrade.

Community health centres receive a secure and reliable broadband connection with the bandwidth necessary to support telehealth services and other complex eHealth applications that require sensitive health information to be transmitted securely without interruption. 

How are communities selected to participate?

Helicopter 2Nations communities based on priorities initially set by the Fully Integrated Technologies (FIT) Partners Working Group.

The FIT Partners Group, which included a wide cross-section of First Nations and government technology, health, education and cultural groups, completed a comprehensive 2007 study of the state of First Nations connectivity in BC. 

This assessment determined that communities with little to no internet access should receive the highest priority under the Pathways initiative. 

After connecting high priority communities, the Pathways project is proceeding in a strategic manner to link other communities using existing telecommunications infrastructure, where possible, or building out the provincial network to reach under-served locations.

Is there a cost for communities to get involved?

TowerThere are no up-front costs for communities to get involved. Pathways to Technology funds the cost of technology upgrades – fibre optic lines, microwave towers or other communications solutions – to get high-speed internet connectivity into individual First Nation communities.

Depending on the infrastructure that exists within each community, there may be some costs associated with configuring that infrastructure to work optimally with the new connection

Is high speed Internet service costly for communities to maintain?

TelehealthOverall, communities, individuals and businesses will pay much less for a faster and more reliable internet connection. The total monthly costs will depend on usage and the specific subscription plans. Many Band Councils report saving thousands of dollars a year on data fees. Video conferencing and e-banking also bring savings in travel costs that can now be avoided. 

Pathways to Technology is working to forge innovative new partnerships with telecommunications providers to make sure ongoing costs are not a barrier to First Nations.

How can my community find out more about in this project?

Click here to send an email to the Pathways to Technology Project Manager.