Matawa First Nations Management receives funding for phase two of broadband project

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM), a non profit corporation serving the needs of nine Matawa First Nations in Ontario has secured funding for its Rapid Lynx long-haul fiber-optic network project that started in 2020.

Magellan will provide detailed engineering plans and oversee all aspects of the project, which includes permitting, construction management and inspections, as well as grant reporting and compliance. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022/early 2023. Funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure totals $62.7 million.

“Magellan is proud to continue growing our partnership with Matawa First Nations Management,” said CEO John Honker. “Since 2014 we have worked with MFNM to develop and manage their next-generation broadband infrastructure planning and have now secured over $130 million in total funding to bring the Rapid Lynx project to fruition. We look forward to continued success with MFNM on this very important initiative.”

Phase Two will connect an additional 289 kilometers of fibre and optical equipment connecting Aroland and the remote First Nations to the road access First Nations communities of Ginoogaming, Long Lake 58 and Constance Lake and provide broadband internet access to approximately 500 more First Nations premises.

Work will also connect Nibinamik First Nation to Wunnumin Lake First Nation to allow for a second connection to the internet for redundancy and path diversity, increasing network reliability and resiliency along the Rapid Lynx route.

“The significance of this project for the road access communities in Matawa cannot be overstated as they currently continue to struggle with connectivity issues,” said MFNM CEO David Paul Achneepineskum. “Matawa First Nations Management and the Matawa First Nations have worked together since 2014 to obtain support for broadband infrastructure in northern Ontario.”

“Our partnership with Magellan has provided the invaluable assistance of their highly skilled team in every aspect of the process, beginning with their work on the funding applications for these phases and continuing with the overall management of this extensive and complex project.”

When completed, the Rapid Lynx network will be 100 per cent owned, governed and operated by the Matawa First Nations, allowing the First Nations to control their digital future and provide affordable, reliable and secure high-speed connectivity for the first time to areas that only had the limited capability of shared satellite service before.

Magellan provides planning, engineering, grant development, implementation and management of the fastest, most technologically advanced fiber and broadband networks. Our mission is to connect every community, one at a time, to the digital economy so that no one is left behind. Our goal is to find practical broadband and technology solutions that our clients can implement in their communities. Through Magellan’s services, more than $1 billion in new broadband investments has connected more than 1,000 schools, hospitals, libraries and governments and passed nearly 1 million homes with fiber-optic broadband. Learn more at www.magellan-advisors.com.

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