A survey conducted by Six Nations of the Grand River on internet service provider preference in the community shows an even split between those who want to support First Nations Cable and those who want to have Rogers when it comes to choosing an internet service provider.
SNGR’s Senior Administrative Officer Darrin Jamieson presented the survey, completed by the Connectivity Broadband Task Force. That Task Force is chaired by Jamieson and was mandated by the Elected Council to gather data about what the community wants and needs for internet services, and to find out what market options are out there to improve connectivity on the territory.
Currently, though Six Nations is in the middle of the most densely populated part of Canada and surrounded by urban spread — most areas on-reserve have unreliable or no internet and cellphone data coverage areas.
That, according to Jamieson, was a huge stumbling block for Six Nations residents and students who were required to work and learn from home during the ongoing pandemic lockdowns of 2020-2021.
In total 314 surveys were filled out, which, when compared to the on-reserve population of close to 15,000, is considered statistically significant, said Jamieson.
A third-party company was hired to tabulate the results to maintain independence from the results, he said.
Residents overwhelmingly said their provider of choice would be Rogers, at 39 percent, followed by First Nations Cable at 38.1 per cent.
However, the survey found that residents from different areas of the reserve had different preferences on who their service provider should be based on where they live.
A local company, First Nations Cable, was the provider of choice for First Line residents, followed by Rogers and Xplorenet, both at 23.5 percent. While residents from Third Line were 56 percent in favour of Rogers as an ISP and 23 percent preferring First Nations Cable.
The survey found that 96% of residents wanted to see internet services provided as soon as possible and that 98% wanted to have a variety of choice for who they could select as their internet service provider.
The survey also found that the major driver behind what influenced people to choose a service provider, however, was supporting local business, at 37 percent, followed by connection strength and quality at 35.7 percent.
“Regardless of what services are coming onto the territory, residents have a choice to decide who they are going to remain with,” said Jamieson. “They can choose to switch providers if there is a better offering. I think that is a good thing. We are trying to provide choice to the community.”
75% of people said they chose Rogers because of its reliability. 11% said because of its customer service.
92% of people said they chose First Nations Cable because it’s a local business.
As for why people chose Xplorenet, 40% of people said it was because they were happy with what they already have.
Jamieson reported that the results of the survey were shared with all service providers involved and says there has been a meeting with Rogers and First Nations Cable and also between Xplorenet and First Nations Cable to look at ways to work together. No specifics were available on the details of the arrangement but says options are being explored to find solutions that will bring reliable internet service options to Six Nations as quickly as possible.
“They all took the results to heart and they’ve all come to the table to explore what those options might be,” said Jamieson. This was promising, according to Jamieson, who said Rogers previously committed to lay fibre optic internet cable around the community throughout the winter to see high speed connectivity across the reserve by early next year.
The survey is part of a larger plan to have reliable, affordable Internet provided to the whole community by 2023.
Jamieson said the results of the survey will be made available on SNGRs website in the coming days.