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Indigenous Broadband – Connecting the North

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In our digitally defined world, access to technology is an important factor in achieving a high quality of life for many. The digital divide refers to differences in access to technology experienced by individuals as a result of various socioeconomic and geographical factors. In Canada, a major feature of the digital divide is location, with a major gap existing between the sparsely populated Northern territories and the rest of the country. 

The lack of access to reliable Internet in rural areas across Northern Canada can make it extremely difficult for those living in remote communities to remain connected, conduct business, access necessary resources and more. The absence of reliable connectivity for our Northern neighbors has been an ongoing problem since the inception of the Internet, but countless discussions and grants have yet to yield a serious, sustainable solution. 

KatloTech Communications Ltd. (KTC) is a Northern-Indigenous owned business based in Yellowknife, NWT committed to solving the broadband issue that has plagued Northern Canada for years. The organization’s mission is to close the digital divide in Northern Canada by providing world-class telecommunication solutions through the use of wireless and fiber optic technologies. 

Their Broadband Investment Project in the Northwest Territories, currently in the planning and investment stages, seeks to “build and deploy an indigenous-owned next-generation fiber-optic network infrastructure connecting the Northwest Territories into Global Markets.” The network will have the ability to host services such as Internet, Cloud Services, IP telephone services, cellular and digital TV services and offer wholesale broadband access to providers and resellers.  

 “People in the North have been waiting for this for years,” says Lyle Fabian, President KatloTech Communications, “finally we decided, if no one else is going to build it, we will!” 

The low population density in Northern Canada does not attract the same number of telecommunication providers as southern regions of the country. This has led to a lack of competition between providers in the north, contributing to the creation of a predatory market atmosphere where clients are paying outrageous prices for access to basic services. “Our goal is to innovate the North,” says Fabian, “as soon as you leave major city centers, choice of access is almost non-existent. We want to create competition and give everybody choices.”  

Like countless other organizations across the country and the world, COVID-19 has forced KatloTech Communications to reevaluate their plans for 2020. However they remain entirely committed to the cause. KatloTech is currently focused on raising public awareness for their project and furthering discussions with third party organizations interested in bridging the divide and bringing reliable connectivity to the North. 

For more information on KatloTech Communications Inc., visit https://katlotech.ca/

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

 

Alberta

Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

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CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $23.6 billion.

Boards of directors at both companies have approved the deal that’s expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The merged Cenovus Energy Inc. will remain headquartered in Alberta.

Husky shareholders will receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share.

The Calgary-based companies say in a joint announcement that the combined company will be the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer, based on total company production.

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix will head the combined company.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

EAST TANK FARM EQUITY ARRANGEMENT

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EAST TANK FARM EQUITY ARRANGEMENT

In the fall of 2017 Suncor, Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) announced the completion of the acquisition by FMFN and MCFN of a 49 per cent interest in the East Tank Farm Development (ETFD) valued at approximately $500 million. The two First Nations independently financed the acquisition, with the offering structured and marketed by RBC Capital Markets.

The agreement is unprecedented in size and scale for the First Nations and Suncor and is part of a growing trend of Indigenous communities as equity owners. The investment will provide a steady stream of revenue to both FMFN and MCFN for a minimum period of 25 years. Located 35 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, the ETFD provides storage, cooling and blending services for bitumen received from Fort Hills.

At a signing ceremony on Nov. 22, 2017, Suncor, Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) announced the completion of the acquisition by FMFN and MCFN of a 49 per cent interest in Suncor’s East Tank Farm Development (ETFD).

The two First Nations independently financed the acquisition, with the offering structured and marketed by RBC Capital Markets. The agreement is unprecedented in size and scale for the First Nations and Suncor and is part of a growing trend of Indigenous communities as equity owners.

“We’ve completed a historic deal for energy development in Canada. This unique partnership has been part of a journey that demonstrates how innovative thinking and collaborative spirit can result in a mutually- beneficial opportunity and it has changed the way Suncor thinks about how our Aboriginal neighbours may participate in energy development,” said Mark Little, president, Upstream, at the time of the signing and now Suncor’s president and CEO. “Through this partnership we’ve learned a lot about working together to create something significant, and I look forward to continuing to work together on this joint investment with Fort McKay First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation for many years to come.”

The agreement is held in a limited partnership with Suncor called Thebacha, the Dene word for “river.” The investment will provide a steady stream of revenue to both FMFN and MCFN for a minimum period of 25 years.

“The economic benefits generated from this deal will help our Nation to build capacity within our businesses, develop infrastructure in our community, fund social economic programs, and provide us with the means to help pay for education and training for our youth, and will be felt in our community for generations to come,” says MCFN Chief Archie Waquan.

Located 35 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, the ETFD is part of the existing East Tank Farm and adjoins the Hot Bitumen Terminal (HBT) and its associated tanks. Once Fort Hills begins to produce bitumen, the ETFD will receive the Fort Hills hot bitumen via the Northern Courier Pipeline.

“The deal represents one of the largest business investment to date by First Nation entities in Canada, and not only demonstrates the great potential for partnerships between First Nations and industry but serves as a model for how First Nations can achieve greater self-determination through financial independence,” said, FMFN Chief Jim Boucher, Chief at the time of the signing. “It is an example of how First Nations and natural resource development companies can find ways to support each other for the mutual long-term benefits.”

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

Read more on Todayville.

 

Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

 

 

 

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