In a time where everything happens online - from Fortnite, Bridgerton, Zoom meetings or ordering the latest skincare product before it’s out of stock AGAIN - slow Internet can be true hell.
Kahnawake’s First Nations Wireless is looking to bring faster and more reliable Internet services to the community. The company, which has been relying on wireless technology for the past five years, recently announced its three-phase project to introduce fibre Internet.
“When COVID-19 started and the pandemic hit Kahnawake, we noticed an increase in our overall usage,’ said director of operations Kameron Lahache. “We knew that we would have to make adjustments.”
Lahache explained that the company had already laid out the plans to increase the Internet’s speed delivered to their customers, but only within the next five years. However, with everyone forced to stay indoors and work from home, the demand for quicker access grew substantially. First Nations Wireless started to notice a change in patterns.
Lahache said that before the pandemic, network traffic was mostly seen in offices during work hours while Kahnawa’kehró:non would use the Internet at home for recreational reasons.
“People are now using the Internet to connect to their office remotely, for Zoom meetings during the day,” he said. “Families are communicating and staying in contact with each other through the Internet.”
With more than 600 clients, the Internet provider felt the need to accelerate the process of upgrading its services. But as Lahache explained, the fibre rollout is not something that can be achieved overnight. First Nations Wireless is aiming to start construction by the end of this year, with the goal to complete the project within three years.
Compared to wireless Internet, fibre Internet uses newer technology and fibre-optic cables that bring higher reliability and speed to their service. Once the fibre is installed throughout the community, Lahache also expects to gain more clients and provide a higher level of service.
“People will be able to access content that they are looking to consume more rapidly,” said Lahache. “For example, if somebody is trying to download a file from their office computer, it can take up to five to 10 minutes but with what we have planned, with the rollout of the fibre, the speed is up to three to four times higher than the current speed we are providing over our wifi.”
The community-based company prides itself on offering the best service possible for community members, and the decision to bring in fibre came directly from feedback from the people of Kahnawake.
In the press release sent on on Wednesday, the Internet provider also mentioned that customers wanted more speed. The executive director of First Nations Wireless, Len Dickson, said that it’s important for them to offer a public forum on Facebook, to discuss the technology and change of services.
“Because our clients have been so good to us over the years, our service has been top-notch for them, “said Dickson. “It’s important for us to provide the best services. I’d rather have everybody on the same page, and make the community better.”
Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door