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Fibre to the Home service launched in Fort Albany First Nation

Attawapiskat, Kashechewan expected to come online this October

MOOSE FACTORY — May 9, 2022: Western James Bay Telecom Network (WJBTN) is pleased to announce the launch of our Fibre to the Home Internet service offering in Fort Albany First Nation. The service was launched on our company’s Facebook page on April 4, 2022.

“Over 40 new clients signed up the first day,” according to Dave Cote, assistant general manager at Western James Bay Telecom Network.

“Fort Albany First Nation members are just buzzing with excitement about the quality and speed of this new service,” stated Chief Robert Nakogee.

The initial service package offers 250 meg download and 30 meg upload speed, with unlimited usage suitable for homes where multiple devices are in use at the same time. For the first month, WJBTN doubled these download and upload speeds just to demonstrate to our new clients the capabilities of the new platform. Other packages are also available for homes with fewer occupants and devices.

“The plan is to bring Attawapiskat First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation online this fall,” stated Andrew McLeod from Canadian Network Services and Consulting Group (CNCSG) and field project manager for WJBTN. “We could not have accomplished the turnup of fibre to the home in this community without the support of the Fort Albany Power Corporation crew who were behind this project 100% and who worked so hard to make this happen.”

Andrew McLeod adds, “The speed at which data traverses the FTTH network is vastly superior to anything offered in these communities today.”

“We are very proud to see this goal achieved after 14 years of diligent effort,” stated WJBTN president Douglas Kebokee. “This affordable and reliable connectivity will bring education, jobs and prosperity to our communities.”

“The FTTH internet platform provides the economic springboard to amplify the skills and knowledge of our members to the rest of the world,” says Sally Braun, general manager. “We have completely surpassed the federal benchmark and our members have a world of economic and academic possibility at their fingertips.”

WJBTN thanks these partners to the project for their continued support: Attawapiskat First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Mushkegowuk Council, Attawapiskat Power Corporation, Kashechewan Power Corporation, Fort Albany Power Corporation, Five Nations Energy Inc. (FNEI), MORCOM Consultants, Canadian Network Consulting and Services Group Inc. (CNCSG), Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Royal Bank of Canada, Wakenagan Community Futures Development Corporation and the NORD-ASKI Regional Economic Development Corporation.


The Western James Bay Telecom Network is the first 100% Indigenous owned and operated, fibre-optic network backbone in Canada. Bringing Fibre to the Home to the James Bay Coast has been the goal of WJBTN directors and staff since 2008, the year this not-for-profit company was incorporated. The WJBTN board has one director each from Attawapiskat First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, the Town of Moosonee, Moose Cree First Nation, Five Nations Energy Inc., and Mushkegowuk Council.

Project Timeline

  • In 2014, WJBTN hosted a telecommunications roundtable bringing together local telecom operators, federal and provincial funding agencies, economic development officers, and First Nation leadership.
  • A 2015 engineering study, funded by FedNor, NOHFC and WJBTN at a cost of $120,000, provided the final project costing of $4.7 million.
  • In December 2016, after consultation with stakeholders in remote and rural regions in Canada, the CRTC declares internet connectivity an essential service.
  • April 2017: WJBTN applies to the federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Connect to Innovate fund for $441,000 and to the provincial Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for $2.3 million and to the Royal Bank of Canada for a $500,000 bank loan.
  • March 2018: WJBTN general manager Sally Braun, finance officer Brian Nakogee, and Dirk McLeod from CNCSG announce to the James Bay coast communities on Wawatay Radio that the project is a go.
  • May 2018: WJBTN receives approval for a loan of $ 500,000 from Wakenagun Community Futures Corporation and Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corporation.
  • January 2019: materials ordered the previous fall arrive in Timmins and are shipped up to the communities by John Koostachin of JK Solutions.
  • May to December 2019: distribution cable run in all three communities, shelter splicing starts.
  • May to December 2020: work continues when COVID permits, including shelter splicing.
  • May to October 2021: distribution cable and home drops in Fort Albany First Nation are 100% completed and Attawapiskat is 40% completed.
  • January to March 2022: shelter hardware and software installed, 13 test homes are connected in Fort Albany and 2 test homes in Attawapiskat.
  • April 2022: Fibre to the Home internet platform is launched in Fort Albany First Nation.
  • October 2022: estimated launch of FTTH in Attawapiskat First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation.