Partners join to launch Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network
SIOUX LOOKOUT, ON, January 19, 2005 - Telesat, one of the world's leading satellite operators, joined Industry Canada and Aboriginal partners from Ontario, Qu ébec and Manitoba today to launch the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN). The network will bring telehealth, distance education, video conferencing and other critical services to 30 remote communities.
As part of its ongoing commitment to enhance communications services to rural and remote regions, Telesat provided two C-band satellite channels, or transponders, for the federal government to use to serve public institutions in remote areas of Canada . The NICSN will use this valuable capacity to provide high-quality video, audio and data communications to participating communities.
“In making this satellite capacity available, Telesat is committed to helping connect Canadians to broadband communications – no matter where they live,” said Paul Bush, Telesat's vice president of broadcasting and corporate development. “Through the successful partnership between local Aboriginal leaders, Industry Canada and Telesat, this community-owned network has become a reality.”
In 1999, Telesat began working with Keewaytinook Okimakanak in Northern Ontario to explore ways of delivering broadband services to the satellite-served community of Fort Severn . This relationship expanded over the ensuing years as KO took on the challenge of managing Industry Canada 's Aboriginal SMART Communities Demonstration Project. The introduction of the federal government's National Satellite Initiative in 2003 contributed further to the development of NICSN by providing the additional transponder space that allowed Northern Manitoba and Nunavik to join the network.
Telesat's contribution of capacity represents an investment in NICSN of $20 million. This has been complemented by a government investment, through FedNor, of more than $12 millon for community/satellite infrastructure.
Bush was joined today at the festivities in Sioux Lookout by The Honourable Joe Comuzzi, Minister of State for FedNor and the Chiefs and Mayors of the 30 communities served by NICSN.
About Telesat ( www.telesat.ca )
Telesat is a pioneer and world leader in satellite operations and systems management. The company made history in 1972 with the launch of the first domestic commercial communications satellite in geostationary orbit. Today, Telesat competes with other top international satellite fleets in providing telecommunications and broadcasting services throughout the Americas , and is a leading consultant, operator and partner in satellite ventures around the globe. Telesat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BCE Inc., a leading communications company with shares listed in the United States , Canada and Europe .
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Dan Tisch or Karen Passmore
Argyle Rowland Communications