Satellite network connects north

Thirty remote Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec communities now have access to a wide range of telehealth, education and e-government services, such as justice and governance, over a satellite-based high-speed network. The recently launched Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN), the

result of a partnership with Telesat and Industry Canada, is the first inter-provincial community-owned and operated broadband satellite network in Canada. Telesat has provided two C-band satellite channels, or transponders, for the federal government to use to provide video, audio and data services to such communities, a contribution the firm estimates is worth $20 million. Industry Canada has kicked in about $12 million.

Dan Pellerin, network manager of K-Net Services, which provides computer services to Keewaytinook Okimakanak in Northern Ontario, said the satellite network will be used to provide a variety of telehealth services. These include teleradiology and mental health consultations via videoconferencing, sentencing hearings for citizens in the justice system, economic development, governance and tele-education. With the additional satellite capacity, K-Net will now be able to connect more communities more quickly and roll out those e-government services, he said. “”Now we’ll be able to do several sites at a time,”” explained Pellerin. “”The exact number will depend on the bandwidth consumed but we’ll have the capacity. As more and more needs and more applications are requested we’ll have the capacity on the ground to accommodate them.””

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