Broadband coming to Matawa First Nations

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at news conference where $30 million in provincial funding to bring broadband to five remote First Nations was announced on Friday.

Five remote communities within Matawa First Nations will have access to high-speed broadband service by 2021.

Premier Doug Ford, Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott and Greg Rickford, minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs, made the $30-million announcement at the Matawa Learning Centre on Friday.

The money is coming from the province’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan and its the last portion of funding needed to bring broadband access to Marten Falls First Nation, Nibinamik First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Webequie First Nation and Eabametoong First Nation.

In October of 2017, the federal government invested $37.1 million through the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and $2.14 million from the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs towards the fibre-to-the-home project.

“It’s going to go a long way, no matter if it’s economically, for education or even policing,” said Ford during his address to the room.

“We have to bring everyone up to the standards of all of Canada and Ontario,” the premier added. “It’s going to change their lives, it really is.”

Rickford recalled his time working as a nurse in northern communities, stating he’s “understood for a very long time broadband capacity has been underserved in these isolated regions of Northern Ontario.”

“This is a legacy piece of infrastructure,” he said, adding the project is also consistent with the traditions and values of the Matawa communities.

“This is important to everybody and I know the youth in particular,” said Rickford.

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.

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