$6.5 million to connect Eastmain and Waskaganish to a reliable high-speed Internet service

Oujé-Bougoumou, November 1, 2017 – The Cree communities of Eastmain and Waskaganish now have access to reliable high-speed Internet service, a necessary tool for economic and social development in the Nord-du-Québec region. The Québec government announced that it granted the Eeyou Communications Network (ECN), a non-profit organization, $6.5 million through the Société du Plan Nord, to carry out the second phase of the fibre optic network project, inaugurated today in Oujé-Bougoumou.

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord Pierre Moreau and Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy Dominique Anglade emphasized ECN’s efforts to connect 13 communities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory. Nearly 800 km of optical fibre were required to connect Eastmain and Waskaganish to the network, a priority for the Société du Plan Nord in the realm of telecommunications.

The establishment of an efficient Internet network poses a genuine challenge north of the 49th parallel because of the remoteness of major centres and the size of the territory. ECN has successfully completed this ambitious project by means of a unique business and operating model that is uniting the Cree and James Bay residents.

The first phase of the ECN project, during which 11 communities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory were connected in 2011, has already shown that a reliable regional Internet network enhances public services and reduces travelling. Telemedicine for residents and reliance on videoconferencing by businesses and organizations have, in particular, proven themselves in the region.

Quotations:

“The sustained efforts of the Eeyou Communications Network mean that Eastmain and Waskaganish now obtain the same high-speed Internet service as neighbouring communities, an essential service today. The realization of the project marks another step forward in fulfilling the conditions for success of the Plan Nord: enhance telecommunications infrastructure north of the 49th parallel and facilitate access to the territory.”

Pierre Moreau, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord

‘’The extension of high-speed Internet network in the Nord-du-Québec represent a lever for the development of the communities and the businesses in the Eeyou Istchee Baie-James region. Through its implication in that project, the Quebec government demonstrate its determination to progress in the implementation of the Digital Strategy.’’

Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

Connecting these communities was a priority in order to give them the autonomy essential to their social and economic development. Congratulations and thanks to the Eeyou Communications Network team for their hard work. This example of collaboration is proof that we can do more and do better.

Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs

“I am extremely proud of this project, created by and for the residents of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory. A reliable Internet network is essential for the sound development of regional businesses but also for sectors such as education, health and the economy. The Eeyou Communications Network has already satisfied significant needs and I am confident that it will continue to do so.”

Jean Boucher, MNA for Ungava

Plan Nord