Beaver River Broadband, SaskTel Partner to Expand High-Speed Internet in Saskatchewan
Beaver River Broadband is a new majority Indigenous-owned internet service provider, from Meadow Lake Tribal Council Resource Development Inc. and Wood River Controls. This new company has partnered with SaskTel to expand high-speed internet to First Nations and rural areas in Saskatchewan.
Portions of SaskTel’s network under the Rural Broadband Partnership Program will be used by Beaver River Broadband to connect more Indigenous and rural households, with revenues to benefit nine Nations under the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.
“Beaver River Broadband strives to lead the way in connecting more communities in all corners of the province through a network that not only employs industry leading equipment and delivers reliable service, but also minimizes its ecological footprint by harnessing the grid alongside wind and solar energy,” said John Degraauw, CEO of Wood River Controls.
Initial internet service will launch in Cowessess First Nation this fall, followed by Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, Eagles Lake, Moudy Lake, and Birch Narrows Dene Nation, and will eventually expand to nine member nations of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.
“This new enterprise represents a once in a generation opportunity for Indigenous ownership and economic participation by the nine MLTC First Nations in the internet service provider industry. Beaver River Broadband aspires to be a leader in this sector, and will bring an essential service to Indigenous and remote communities that supports Indigenous self-determination — enabling our communities to improve access to education, employment, and essential programs and services for their members,” said MLTC Tribal Chief Richard Ben, in an issued statement.
SaskTel’s Rural Broadband Partnership Program has already expanded high-speed internet to the Peepeekis Cree Nation and Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation.
“Today’s announcement is an example of what can be achieved when SaskTel, Saskatchewan’s independent broadband providers, and Indigenous leaders work together in full partnership,” said Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “As a solid Internet connection becomes more essential to the economy and everyday life, partnerships such as these will help narrow the digital divide in our province while giving First Nations communities control of their digital future.”