FMCC team presents at Indigenous Radio conference in Ottawa

A team of First Mile partners including Penny Carpenter from K-Net Services, Tim Whiteduck from First Nations Education Council (FMCC Chair), Dr. Heather Hudson and Dr. Rob McMahon travelled to Ottawa on June 15-17 to participate in the Indigenous Radio National Conference at the University of Ottawa. The presentations and notes about the conference will be posted on their web site at The conference presentations are also archived on YouTube (visit the conference website to access).

The follow abstract outlines the presentation given by the FMCC team:

Over the past five years, the First Mile Connectivity Consortium – a non-profit national association of Indigenous broadband providers – has been engaged in policy and regulatory advocacy activities aimed to secure community ownership and control of digital infrastructure and services. Most recently, the organization contributed to public hearings held by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that focused on the extension of broadband as a basic service available to all Canadians. While these proceedings affect all residents of Canada, the issues are of particular concern for Indigenous populations, many of whom live in isolated communities where connectivity is limited and prices including monthly fees and usage charges are high. These communities also desire control over the development of broadband infrastructure and services, to support their self-determined development goals.

In this workshop presentation, we will discuss the FMCC team’s experience of intervening in the CRTC hearings, including preparing written submissions and presenting in-person oral testimony. We made a case to support the extension of broadband to northern and remote regions of the county, and outlined the technical, social and economic implications of local and regional control of broadband development for Indigenous communities. We show how our interventions demonstrated that Indigenous peoples are providers, not just consumers, of digital infrastructures and services, and argued for equitable access to funding and subsidies authorized by the regulator. We discuss the role of government in providing capital and operational support for such activities, and provide an overview of the FMCC’s proposal for a Northern Infrastructure and Services Fund (NISF) to support the efforts of community and regional providers. We end by considering how the FMCC experience might support efforts to establish policies in other areas, including for Indigenous broadcasting.

Along with presenting at this event, and at regional events in Halifax (Brian Beaton and Susan O’Donnell) and Edmonton (Rob McMahon), the FMCC team contributed financial, in-kind and sponsor support for the initiative.

The FMCC team congratulates the event organizers, and looks forward to continuing discussions with our colleagues working in Indigenous broadcasting.