Canadian First Nations communities outside of major centers remain underserved by Internet providers, receiving minimum service at a maximum price. Due to their isolation and small populations, many First Nations rely on Internet to deliver critical services from health to education and administration to their community. But distant decision-makers removed from community needs often institute policies and funding programs that do not support local priorities.
First Nations have begun to address these digital disparities – and have generated social and economic opportunities – by taking ownership of local broadband infrastructure. The First Mile project, a partnership between First Nations ICT Regional Networks and university-based researchers, is a Canadian initiative that celebrates locally owned and managed First Nations broadband projects.