Millions across the world lack access to the internet. SpaceX aims to connect rural communities worldwide to its Starlink satellite broadband network. The company is currently offering internet service in northern United States and Canada. This week, Pikangikum First Nation, an indigenous community in Canada, received Starlink Kits to connect to the internet. The kit includes a phased-array antenna dish and a Wi-Fi router device, alongside mounting equipment that is easy to install. Pikangikum First Nation is a remote settlement of approximately 2,000 people located in the Sioux Lookout District of northwestern Ontario. Providing internet to the remote community is possible thanks to a collaboration between SpaceX, the government of Canada, and FSET Information Technologies, a company that provides a wide range of tech-related services in Kenora, Ontario. “This week the first major Canadian deployment of SpaceX Starlink took place in a remote First Nation community where connectivity is long overdue. Thrilled that regulatory approval from Navdeep Bains is helping bring high-speed internet to more Canadians,” FSET announced via Twitter.
FSET stated the effort was enabled by Canada’s office of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and supported by several Conservative Members of Parliament: Canadian Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains, Kenora Minister of Energy Greg Rickford, as well as Kenora’s Minister of Northern Affairs Eric Melillo.
“Access to fast, reliable, and even the most basic internet services enjoyed by most Canadians is long overdue for Pikangikum First Nation; especially for its children, youth, and young adults who make up 75% of the population,” FSET founders Nicole and David Brown told NetNewsLedger reporters in a statement. “We are thrilled with to work with SpaceX and the delivery of Starlink for Pikangikum – recognizing the community’s unique needs and the opportunities that connectivity will create to enhance community outcomes. With all regulatory approvals now in place, this important step towards equality of opportunity begins today,” they said. FSET shared a photograph of the Starlink Kits they deployed via airplane to the remote community, pictured below.
“This is a significant day for the community of Pikangikum First Nation,” The Pikangikum First Nation Chief Dean Owen told reporters, “The delivery of Starlink internet services will transform our abilities to deliver local services, create economic opportunities, access education, training, health and wellness supports, and improve the quality of life for our children, youth and families. We thank our local MP, and his colleagues who advocated for the project in Ottawa, our partners at FSET and SpaceX, and all those in Government who worked towards the approval of these services and the realization of this opportunity for Pikangikum,” he stated.
FSET Information Technologies plans to continue to travel to Pikangikum, to install the Starlink dish terminals on important public buildings in the community, such as health offices and schools. The government also plans to connect residences before the end of this year.