Coastal First Nations says faster internet will transform coastal communities

January 17, 2018

(Vancouver, January 17, 2018) – Improved Internet connectivity will be transformative for Coastal First Nations (CFN) communities.

Peter Lantin, President of Council of the Haida Nation and a CFN director says for most rural communities dial-up Internet is a distant memory. “But today, slow connections to the Internet remain a fact of life in our communities hampering our ability to participate fully in the wired world.”

Broadband improvement on the coast is an immense undertaking. “Today’s announcement will literally light up the coast. Communities will be able to receive and send information much faster than is possible now. We commend Canada and British Columbia for being leaders in closing the connectivity gap.”

For one of CFN’s programs – the Coastal Guardian Watchmen – access to faster Internet will literally change their work lives, Lantin said. “We have more than 100 watchmen who patrol our territories each day. They gather data using IPads. Today, uploading the data can take between 1-3 hours each day. Faster connectivity is going to have an enormous impact on how they do their jobs.”

The new connectivity will also vastly improve communication systems for marine preparedness and the monitoring of shipping and marine traffic transiting territorial waters.

We can’t underestimate the benefits to coastal communities. “The lack of broadband contributes to fragmentation of our communities. Often students are forced to move for training and education because online training is impossible to get on the coast. Faster internet connections will change that,” Lantin said.

An improved broadband system will open up a whole new world to CFN communities. “Broadband connectivity will facilitate a greater sharing of our cultures by allowing schools to download large data files related to traditional use studies or cultural centre historical materials.”

Faster connection will also improve emergency services, telemedicine, and economic development opportunities.

The Coastal First Nations is an alliance of First Nations that includes the Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation who are working together to create a sustainable economy on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.

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For more information:

Simon Davies – Haida Nation Communications

250.637.1130 or simon.davies@haidanation.com

Patrick Kelly – Board Chair, Coastal First Nations

250.589.4084

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