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High-Speed Fibre Infrastructure Coming to Pimicikamak

Press Release

CROSS LAKE, MB,  – The Government of Canada has awarded funding for the construction of high-speed fibre optic infrastructure throughout Pimicikamak Territory and into Cross Lake and Norway House, through a Joint Venture established between Pimicikamak and Norway House Cree Nation, known as Kici Sipi Communications Partnership.

In 2020, Kici Sipi Communications was formed between Pimicikamak Okimawin and Norway House Cree Nation. In Cree, ‘Kici Sipi’ means ‘great river’. Historically, the river was a means for our people to connect and communicate between villages throughout the territory.

“A united effort between Pimicikamak and Norway House Cree Nation will demonstrate our ability to succeed as a people on this critical project.”, said David Monias, Chief of Pimicikamak Okimawin.

This project will be the foundation for delivering fast and reliable high-speed internet to all residents and organizations within Cross Lake such as the health complex, schools, and businesses.

Pimicikamak’s National Policy is to pursue objective standards enjoyed by all Canadians, and in the process, ensure that we “do it right”. Pimicikamak has been working towards bringing high-speed internet to Pimicikamak Territory since 2016 in a rational, professional, and fact-based approach.

Canada’s announcement of this project is significant. It brings the first phase of a critical and modern communication system to our people.

“The technology being used in this project is a game changer for our people and will improve how we govern and do business throughout our nation and throughout the world” says Executive Council member responsible for Communications, Technology and Justice, Lee Thomas.

Through the federal government’s Connect To Innovate (CTI) program, Kici Sipi Communications has approval to install nearly 200km of   fibre optic cable connecting Cross Lake and Norway House.

The nearly 200 km of fibre optic cable will be installed from a breakout point along Manitoba Hydro’s Bi-Pole III transmission line and routed to the respective communities. The detailed engineering will commence immediately with construction expected to be complete by December 2022.

In parallel with this initiative, Pimicikamak and Norway House are working with the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) initiative to distribute high speed broadband internet to organizations and homes. This will finally give our people reliable access to the internet, with speeds that are 100 times faster than what is currently available.

Pimicikamak will soon be able to change how its’ people communicate with each other. Pimicikamak citizens will soon be able to call, e-mail, online-bank in real time, and do “video conferencing” to talk to loved ones that are in different parts of the world.

“Canada made a public policy statement to reconcile its relationship with Indigenous nations like Pimicikamak. Canada’s approval of our high-speed internet project is a demonstration of transformational change in action where our people will now enjoy the benefits of a reliable communication system.” said Pimicikamak Okimawin’s advisor to Executive Council, Lee Roy Muswaggon.

Pimicikamak is a Cree speaking sovereign Nation whose Territory is in what is now referred to as north central Manitoba. Cross Lake is the primary settlement for Pimicikamak citizens. Spearheading this project is Council member, Lee Thomas with assistance from advisor David Leeroy Muswaggon, and with support from Chief David Monias and Pimicikamak Okimawin Executive Council.

For further information: Lee Thomas, lee.thomas@pimicikamak.ca

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