Local communities are applauding recent funding announcements.

Six communities in northwestern Ontario are set to benefit from up to $4.03 million in federal funding. The funding will be allocated to Bell Canada, who will build a new fibre-optic “backbone” and bring high-speed internet upgrades across the Kenora riding.

The communities of Madsen, Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation, Stratton, Minahico, the Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, and the Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing are all set to receive the upgrades.

Kenora MP Bob Nault, who made the announcement on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor, noted that the technology improvements will allow businesses and residents to more effectively participate in distance education, seize new business opportunities and search for jobs online.

“It is extremely important to ensure that Northerners have access to high-speed Internet as it not only provides them with improved access to online services, but it also helps to boost the economic viability of the region,” stated Nault. “In order to keep up in today’s world, businesses, both big and small, need to have fast, reliable Internet connections. These types of investments will help entice new businesses to Northwestern Ontario and also provide residents with a higher quality of life,” he said.

"Access to high-speed Internet is an important issue for our community,” said Red Lake Mayor, Phillip Vinet. “For certain residents, the lack of high-speed Internet access has prevented them from taking advantage of the many opportunities afforded by the digital era. By improving high-speed Internet access in our community, the proposed project will allow undeserved households, businesses and community institutions to keep pace with changing technology and to fully participate in the digital economy," he said.

In addition to the $4.03 million of federal funding, Bell Canada is pitching in $1.3 million. 

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