Working Group Formed
Our purpose is to bring affordable and reliable internet services to our First Nation communities. Rapid Lynx Telecommunications is a corporation that will have 100% First Nations ownership within 5 years of completion.
When Completed, the Rapid Lynx Communications Corporation will provide the following services: Internet Services for Business and Personal, Trouble Shooting, and Customer Care.
In 2010, $81 million in funding was announced by Ontario and Canada to bring a state-of-the-art backbone fibre-optic network to 26 First Nations communities based on a partnership between Nishnawbe-Aski Nation and Bell Alliant. This initiative, called the Northwestern Ontario Broadband Expansion Initiative (NOBEI), originally planned to include Nibinamik, Webequie, Neskantaga, Eabametoong and Marten Falls First Nations. Then, in 2013, these Matawa First Nations (who were experiencing end-of-life microwave and satellite connections) were informed that the NOBEI had gone over budget due to issues in the construction of the 21 Non-Matawa First Nations leaving them without funding or a plan for broadband connection.
Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik, Webequie First Nations (with interconnection at Aroland First Nation)
Working Group Formed
Feasibility study, business planning completed
Federal and provincial grant awarded
Contribution agreements, contracted bids, procurement of supplies completed
Permitting completed & construction commenced
Estimated phase 1 completion date
In 2013, a working group was formed to find ways to access affordable, high-speed internet for remote Matawa First Nation communities left out of NOBEI. As a result of identifying the need to build a broadband network—the working group then formed the Rapid Lynx Telecommunications Corporation which is owned and operated by the Matawa First Nation communities. As part of a unique model for broadband network ownership—Matawa First Nations 100% own, govern and operate Rapid Lynx ensuring control of our own digital future and have access to affordable and reliable services.
As part of the feasibility study and business planning—a ‘next generation network’ was decided as the approach to serve the current and future needs of Matawa First Nations People for multiple generations. Optical-fibre technology has the longest lifespan of any other communications technology and offers virtually unlimited capacity to carry internet traffic of all kinds. Powerful optical backbone electronics and optical access electronics will connect homes and offices on community access networks to the backbone network will be installed and tested in each of the community PoP shelters. Optical electronics generate laser beams that travel in hair-thin strands of glass fibre inside the fibre-optic backbone network and community networks.
The challenge when deploying the fibre-optic cable to the Phase 1 communities has been the various terrains. To over come this—various fiber-optic deployment methods are being used. Approximately 810 km of heavily armored fibre-optic cable is being installed 3 feet underground and under water as follows:
Construction with brush and clear cutting began in February 2020. The installing of the fibre optic cable started in June 2020. As of October, 2021, 57% of the Phase 1 backbone network has been placed. The estimated completion date of the Phase 1 is March 2023.
The backbone network consists of ninety-six (96) strands of hair-thin glass fibres separated into tubes of 12 fibres each, then bundled together, wrapped in foil cladding, and covered with a heavy protective cable sheath. The cable sheath is then armored with steel rods to strengthen and protect the cable. The armored cable is buried underground to protect it from damage.
Prefabricated equipment shelters, referred to as Points of Presence or ‘PoPs’ are being placed in each of the five remote communities and Aroland and connected to the fibre optic backbone network. Each are is furnished with racks for network electronics, a cable management system, generator, batteries, climate control system, access control, monitoring and alarm notification system, and is connected to the community’s electric power system. Training of community members to operate and maintain systems and electronics in the PoPs will be essential to operation of the Rapid Lynx network. From each community PoP, a fibre-optic community distribution network will connect homes, businesses, schools, nurses station, medical clinic, mental health and treatment facilities, public safety and police stations, band offices, economic development sites and every other site important to the community. The distribution networks interconnect communities to the Rapid Lynx fibre-optic backbone and the Internet.
Once the backbone network and community distribution networks are complete and connected to optical access and backbone electronics in the community PoPs, the Rapid Lynx backbone network will be connected from Aroland to an ‘Internet Gateway’ at Ginoogaming. The Internet Gateway is an interconnection point with a national telecommunications carrier network that will carry Rapid Lynx traffic over fibre-optic cable to the global Internet backbone running through Canada at a network access point in Toronto. This will position Rapid Lynx only one fibre ‘hop-off’ of the global Internet backbone, allowing Rapid Lynx to purchase wholesale Internet service from any of hundreds of carriers interconnected in Toronto and obtain competitively priced service for Rapid Lynx communities. Connectivity to a global internet access point, like the Torix data center in Toronto, will allow the Matawa First Nations to use affordable and reliable ultra-high speed connectivity to promote economic development.
The laser beams carry internet traffic between Rapid Lynx subscribers and over 4 billion people online at near light speed. The speed of light in space is about 299,792 kilometers per second. Light travels more slowly on earth due to earth’s atmosphere and weather, but Rapid Lynx laser beams still travel FAST! ‘Gigabit’ laser beams traveling through Rapid Lynx fiber can carry 1 billion bits of data, text, voice, video, images, audio, games and thousands of internet applications to and from Rapid Lynx subscribers from any location in the world in only 1 second. Rapid Lynx backbone lasers can carry 10 Gigabits, or 10 billion bits per second, and can be scaled up to 100 gigabits or 100 billion bits per second.
Aroland, Constance Lake, Ginoogaming, and Long Lake #58 First Nations
Matawa Chiefs Council mandate provided to extend long-haul fibre network
Provincial and federal grant submissions made
The Rapid Lynx network will be expanded to the four road-access Matawa First Nations in a second phase as additional grant funds are awarded. Matawa First Nations Management applied for grant funding for Rapid Lynx Phase 2 from Ontario’s Infrastructure Ministry and ISED’s Universal Broadband Fund in two stages in 2020 and 2021 and is awaiting a final decision by Ontario and Canada.