In September of 2022, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) announced a consultation on radio spectrum. For the first time, ISED addressed Indigenous connectivity as a policy theme and as a separate topic from the usual “rural, remote, and Indigenous” connectivity issues. The department asked stakeholders “how can ISED’s spectrum management program best support Indigenous connectivity?”
FMCC was joined by DigitalNWT and KatloTech Communications Ltd. for its submission and received support from: the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, the and the Dene Nation.
FMCC and DigitalNWT presented results from interviews and community surveys conducted with residents of rural and remote Northwest Territory communities.
FMCC’s submission addressed the perspectives of both consumers and service providers, arguing that digital services are essential for the social, cultural and economic development of rural, remote and Northern Indigenous communities and their residents and that locally and regionally positioned ISPs need more government support.
Pointing to the need for digital communications because rural and remote, Northern and Indigenous regions tend to have the worst transportation links, and greatest need for connectivity, FMCC advocates for more government recognition of the specific challenges Indigenous ISPs and consumers face, as well as regulatory support.
FMCC’s comments sought to contribute to the CRTC’s efforts to explore solutions to issues of affordability, quality and reliability of Internet, and home phone services, to enhance competition and telecom services in the Far North, increase access to educational and economic opportunities that rely on high-quality Internet services; and contribute to the preservation, restoration and dissemination of Indigenous languages and culture.
See FMCC’s submission here.
See all intervenors’ submissions here.