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Community Networks 17 November 2022

Supporting Indigenous Connectivity in Canada

By Hosein BadranSenior Director, Internet Growth and Trust

Updated on 12 September 2023

When it comes to Internet access, Indigenous communities are among the most underserved throughout North America. According to Canada’s ISED, 97 percent of urban households have access to high-speed Internet, compared to only 37 percent in rural communities. The statistics are even more bleak for Indigenous communities, where just 24 percent have access to high-speed Internet.

The Internet Society works with Indigenous communities to find and implement sustainable solutions that meet their unique connectivity needs. Supporting communities to build and maintain local Internet infrastructure has proven to be key to connect the unconnected.

This is why we’re partnering with the National Research Council of Canada. We’ll work together with Indigenous communities in Ontario and Northwest Territories to grow the skills needed to bridge the digital divide. Our partnership will focus on:

  • Building knowledge and awareness about complementary access solutions, such as community networks, to help close the digital divide in Canada.
  • Providing training in the skills needed to build and manage a community network, including technical and business information.
  • Creating a resource library, including training recordings, background resource material, and a case study, to share the experience with other Indigenous communities in Canada.

Starting in November 2022, 10 Indigenous communities in Ontario and Northwest Territories attended training sessions, which ran until February 2023. In June 2023, three communities participated in detailed training on wireless and fiber-based community broadband networks and hands-on ethernet crimping exercise.

Are you interested in supporting your communities in building Internet infrastructure?

Watch the training recordings and read the report on how the Chippewas of Nawash are bridging the digital divide. You can also watch their video testimonials, both shorter and longer versions are available.

Help Connect the Unconnected

We are supporting communities working to bridge the digital divide around the world. Learn how you can help and join us.

Image copyright: © Jennifer Miller

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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