Winnipeg summit seeks to improve internet access for all

A summit being held in Winnipeg this week is exploring how to improve internet access for Indigenous peoples and those living in rural and underserved communities.

The event, called the Indigenous Connectivity Summit, aims to bring communities up to speed and bridge the digital divide as more resources move online.

The summit brings together Indigenous leaders, community members, community network operators, Internet service providers, researchers and policy makers to try to find solutions to connect Indigenous communities to fast and affordable internet.

“It’s a gathering of people working in the community network space to bring internet connectivity to parts of the world that need it and lack it, that are underserved, or completely unserved,” said Joel Templeman. , Executive Director of the Manitoba Chapter of the Internet Society. , in an interview on Tuesday.

Templeman noted that internet connectivity is an issue in Manitoba, especially for First Nations. He added that many First Nations are fly-in communities, which are powered by satellite using old technology.

“Their connections are very slow, very expensive and don’t have the bandwidth and support they need for the whole community,” he said, adding that connectivity issues also exist in rural areas of province and even parts of Winnipeg.

Templeman said underserved communities have waited a long time for a solution to their internet problems and they can’t wait any longer, especially with all the opportunities and resources moving online.

“It’s really just fairness. People need this connectivity,” he said.

The newly formed Indigenous Connectivity Institute is leading this year’s summit, co-hosted by Connect Humanity and the Internet Society. The summit includes a series of panels, discussions and workshops.

The Indigenous Connectivity Summit takes place October 24-28.

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