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Fort Albany 'buzzing' about home internet service

Launched by Western James Bay Telecom Network, there are plans to bring Attawapiskat and Kashechewan online in the fall
2022-01-10 computer stock

An Indigenous-owned network is helping bring the James Bay coastal communities online.

In April, Western James Bay Telecom Network (WJBTN) launched its home internet service in Fort Albany First Nation.

More than 40 people signed up the first day, said Dave Cote, WJBTN assistant general manager, in a news release.

“Fort Albany First Nation members are just buzzing with excitement about the quality and speed of this new service,” said Chief Robert Nakogee.

The initial package offers 250 meg download and 30 meg upload speed with unlimited usage. To demonstrate the capabilities of the platform, WJBTN doubled the speeds for the first month.

There are plans to bring Attawapiskat and Kashechewan online in the fall, said Andrew McLeod of the Canadian Newtork Services and Consulting Group (CNCSG) and WJBTN field project manager.

“We could not have accomplished the turn up of Fibre to the Home (FTTH) in this community without the support of the Fort Albany Power Corporation crew who were behind this project 100 per cent and who worked so hard to make this happen," McLeod said in the release. “The speed at which data traverses the FTTH network is vastly superior to anything offered in these communities today.”

After 14 years of "diligent effort", WJBTN president Douglas Kebokee is proud to achieve this goal.

“This affordable and reliable connectivity will bring education, jobs and prosperity to our communities," he said.

The internet platform is an economic springboard, said Sally Braun, WJBTN general manager.

“We have completely surpassed the federal benchmark and our members have a world of economic and academic possibility at their fingertips," she said.