Featured Image Source: u/Overshields via Reddit
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband constellation aims to connect rural and remote areas worldwide. Primarily focused in regions where internet connection is unreliable. According to a 2017 Canadian survey, only 24% of households in Indigenous communities have access to quality, high-speed internet. The UN (United Nations) declared access to the internet -a human right. This declaration is formed on the basis that having access to the internet gives individuals the freedom to exercise fundamental human rights, like freedom of speech and access to information. For Indigenous communities, the internet could aid in having access to educational and business opportunities, as well as access to online healthcare. The internet can also become a tool for cultural survival, where they can share their Indigenous languages and culture with thousands globally with a single click.
Canadian government and First Nations tribe leaders are working to fund broadband for remote regions where indigenous groups lack reliable access to the world wide web. In December 2020, Canadian leaders announced a partnership with FSET Information Technology, a Canadian company that provides a wide range of tech-related services in Kenora, Ontario, who reached out to SpaceX to purchase Starlink Kits to help connect Pikangikum First Nation. The indigenous community is comprised of approximately 2,000 people, living in a remote settlement at the Sioux Lookout District of northwestern Ontario. FSET Information technology became SpaceX’s first customer in Canada. FSET helped to connect important tribe buildings and schools to the Starlink network. Read more in the TESMANIAN article linked below.
On Tuesday, another Canadian indigenous community received Starlink Kits, the Iskatewizaagegan 39 Independent First Nation, located along the northwestern shores of Shoal Lake, Ontario. According to a Reddit post by a Shoal Lake Indian Reserve No. 39a representative, tribal leaders ordered the Starlink kits from Starlink.com to connect their community which is comprised of at least 600 members. They shared a photograph with eight Starlink kit boxes, pictured below, “Many of the Starlink kits that the band [tribal council] ordered for their community,” the representative said in the post. The kit includes a phased-array antenna dish and a Wi-Fi router device, alongside mounting equipment that is easy to install. The dish receives signal from the internet-beaming satellites in space to connect even the most remote regions.