Various First Nations in Ontario to Get SpaceX Starlink Internet

After Northern Ontario deemed the Starlink program its “best option” last year, a pilot project has been launched to bring high-speed internet connectivity to five First Nations near Kenora and Sioux Narrows in Northwestern Ontario.

During phase one of the pilot project, the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council (AKRC) will install two Starlink receivers in schools and one Starlink receiver in the administrative office of the following communities:

  • Ojibways of Onigaming.
  • Wauzhushk Onigum.
  • Big Grassy River.
  • Northwest Angle #33.
  • Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nations.

Starlink is a high-speed satellite broadband service from SpaceX that’s powered by the largest constellation of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites currently deployed in space.

The service is on a mission to make high-speed internet affordable and accessible to everyone in the world, especially those in under-served or un-served rural/remote locations.

“Every First Nation, or most of them, are in the same situation, where there have been promises of connectivity for quite some time,” said Barbara Katic, with the AKRC’s education support services group.

“Let’s test it out. Let’s see if Starlink is as good as everyone says,” she added

The first phase of the project, funded by Indigenous Services Canada, will focus on learners of all ages across the communities. The improved connectivity will afford students better access to education, and professionals better access to training.

“Phase 1 had a specific focus to build a small bridge to close the digital divide. Phase 2 will close the digital divide,” said Katic. The second phase of the project will likely expand availability to more households within the community until everyone is connected.

Katic also urged officials at every level of government to prioritize access to affordable, high-speed internet for every person within every First Nation.

We’ve seen spectacular results with similar projects in the past — late last year, SpaceX and FSET Information Technology brought Starlink internet to the people of Pikangikum First Nation, upping the internet speeds they had access to from 60kbps to a whopping 130mbps.