First Nations Cable could begin the installation of fibre optic cables throughout the territory by June.
Jeff Thomas, president of First Nations Cable/Six Nations Internet, announced that the company got approved for the required financing at council’s political liaison meeting Monday morning.
“I guess everybody heard – we got some good news,” he told council. “We did get our financing. It’s always been the issue for us. We always knew the technology but trying to get the money here on reserve is very tough.”
He said it will take about two years to install fibre optic Internet cables to the bulk of the reserve.
“We found out in March (about the financing approval),” said Thomas. “It’s all very exciting.”
Fibre optics will provide the community exponentially faster Internet services.
The need for high-speed Internet became readily apparent during the pandemic in the last two years, as a large portion of residents had to work and learn from home.
Unreliable and spotty Internet connections led to many connectivity issues for large portions of Six Nations students in the mostly rural areas of the reserve, as well as office employees who had to rely on technology and online meetings during pandemic lockdowns to carry on business.
Thomas brought in two other partners to help with the project: Six Nations residents Miles Hill and Gord Hill.
With political help from Six Nations elected council and area politicians, they were able to get approval and all the necessary permits to get the green light, said Thomas.
“We’re going to bring hydro one in and a few others are going to come in,” said Thomas.
As far as the project goes, they’re starting to purchase equipment and materials.
But material delivery times are about 14 to 16 weeks out, he said, but that’s an improvement over last year’s wait times.
Also, Thomas said the cost of the project is going to be an issue and their original estimates from last year have gone up exponentially due to the astronomical inflation rate in the past two years, causing a sharp rise in gas prices, wages and other goods and services.
“Contrators have come back at me and said basically they cant do it for what they quoted last year,” said Thomas. “There’s a lot of contingencies we have to deal with.”
Work is expected to start on Fourth Line in June.
He expects it to take two years to install cables through the whole reserve.
“That’s what our game plan is. If everything falls into place locate-wise and we get the materials we can get started right away. Its been pretty hectic. Once we get rolling it will (smooth) out and we’ll get a lot covered this year.”