The Internet has shaped the 21st Century by connecting the entire planet to a variety of resources, including virtual healthcare, education, and business opportunities at a user’s fingertips. However, not everyone has access to the internet at affordable prices nor reliable speeds, especially those living in remote communities across the world. SpaceX aims to close the digital divide in rural areas where internet is unreliable or unavailable; In places where traditional terrestrial internet is too expensive to acquire and setup. SpaceX is building a Starlink satellite constellation in low Earth orbit where thousands of satellites will beam high-speed broadband internet connection across the globe. With approximately 960 satellites already in space, SpaceX is already offering a Starlink beta service in Canada and northern United States.
FSET Information Technology, a Canadian company that provides a wide range of tech-related services in Kenora, Ontario, reached out to SpaceX to connect Pikangikum First Nation – an indigenous community of approximately 2,000 people located in the Sioux Lookout District of northwestern Ontario. FSET Information technology became SpaceX’s first customer in Canada. The company received SpaceX Starlink Kits to connect the remote settlement 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. The dish receives signal from the internet-beaming satellites in space to connect even the most remote regions.
FSET teams traveled to Pikangikum for the past couple of weeks to install the Starlink dish terminals on important public buildings in the community, such as health offices and schools. The company is collaborating with the government to also connect residences before the end of this year. “All the projects…I’ve been involved in, this is for me personally and professionally the most rewarding one. I’ve never worked with a community, or customer/client, that’s been more excited about something and happier,” Dave Brown, Chief Executive Officer at FSET Technologies said in a video released by the company today, shown below.
Like to thank all of the dedicated people at @SpaceX who have made #Starlink possible. A special thank you to the #Pikangikum First Nation for sharing your journey with all of us and for the trust and patience you have shown. Chi Miigwetch.https://t.co/6qdQYYOcG1— FSET Information Technology (@FSETera) December 10, 2020
-“After many, many months of trying to get internet to the Pikangikum through other means, Dave was really determined to find a different way. He began doing a lot of research and eventually reached out to SpaceX,” the Chief Operating Officer at FSET Nicole Brown stated. “They [SpaceX] went back and got the approval and they came back to me and said that… Pikangikum was going to be the first SpaceX Starlink client in Canada,” Dave added.
“I hope this gives the younger generations a little bit of hope,” Vernon Kejick, who works at the ‘victim services’ health department in the community says. “Up until Thursday of last week you could not get a college education from Pikangikum, you can now get access to that information that allows them to change the world and shape their path and future,” Dave shared.
“This is a monumental deal… for the community to have access to high-speed internet within 15-minutes of [SpaceX Starlink Kits] landing on the ground is incredible,” Nicole stated, in reference to the Starlink Kit being easy to set-up in the remote region. Now, Pikangikum First Nation can use SpaceX Starlink high-speed broadband internet to have reliable access to healthcare resources and virtual education, among other online opportunities. “Everyone deserves to have this kind of service because at this point in history internet is not just a luxury, it’s a need,” she said (video below).
SpaceX Starlink - Pikangikum's Journey
Featured Image Source: FSET Information Technologies
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.