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First Nation Breaks Ground for Fibre Optic Network and Selects BlackBerry AtHoc for Critical Event Management

Today, Clear Sky Connections (CSC) announced the ground breaking for Pine Creek First Nation following their consent - the second of many communities who will have access to high-speed Internet through a build that spans the province. 

In conjunction with the fibre optic build, CSC is launching Pine Creek FN as the initial pilot site to use the BlackBerry® AtHoc® critical event management solution to improve how the First Nation communicates with the community during critical events and emergency situations, such as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. It is a unique opportunity to use several sources of funding to maximize on the community’s needs.

Building Manitoba’s Network of the Future and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre of Excellence in partnership with BlackBerry, IndigenousTech.ai, Broadband Communications North, Indigenous Services Canada, Digital Citizen Contribution Program (Department of Heritage), Clear Sky Connections is set to begin the installation of Fibre Optic cable to Pine Creek First Nation located about 110 km North of Dauphin along the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipegosis in Manitoba. 

Clear Sky Connections will also work with Pine Creek First Nation to implement the BlackBerry AtHoc critical event management solution, enabling the community to alert its members of dangerous weather conditions such as forest fires and floods, and provide the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. The community will undergo training to understand and identify credible online news sources regarding COVID-19 and assess information encountered online while also using media technologies, including social media and smartphones. 

Clear Sky Connections Chairperson Chief David Crate, of Fisher River Cree Nation stated, “Today marks the beginning of economic development and training opportunities - a historic moment for us as First Nations, as the mandated organization by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) to build the high-speed network, we launch our second Fibre build to a southern site. At the same time, we will implement a communication system to form a network within the community for the leadership to know which members are safe and which ones need help during any crisis.”

Crate notes, “It all started with Chief Batson reaching out after her community had a fire and they had no connectivity to see which community members had already received the evacuation notice, that then led the leadership to prioritize communication and vie harder for critical cellular service”.

“Pine Creek First Nation is both pleased and excited to be selected as the second First Nation in Manitoba to be receiving a new tie-in to the Fibre Optic Network,” said Chief Karen Batson of Pine Creek First Nation. “In addition, the BlackBerry AtHoc critical event management system, which is also being launched, will be a great asset to our community and will go a long way to ensuring we have an effective and efficient way of communicating vital information to our community members during an emergency or pandemic outbreak. Access to high-speed Internet will provide our community with the opportunity to truly connect and interact locally and globally and will increase access to economic, health, education and other socio-economic benefits. We are looking forward to working with Clear Sky Connections and all other partners involved in this much-anticipated project.”

“We are proud to work with IndigenousTech.ai Corporation and Clear Sky Connections to keep members of First Nations in Manitoba connected and safe during times of crisis,” said David Wiseman, Vice President of Secure Communications, BlackBerry. “BlackBerry AtHoc has been implemented in every Canadian province and territory, and Canada’s Federal Government trust BlackBerry AtHoc to secure Parliament Hill for all emergencies and crises. It is our privilege to support Indigenous communities and to ensure that they receive the same level of technological support to protect their families.”

For more information on BlackBerry AtHoc, please visit BlackBerry.com/AtHoc and follow us on Twitter at @AtHoc.

About Clear Sky Connections

Clear Sky Connections, created by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, originated from the word “MIZHAKWUN” - a name received in ceremony that translates to “the Sky is Clear” where the eagle opened up the sky and cleared the path for the future generations to connect. This entity is part of a corporate group, a reform of the Manitoba First Nations Technology Council whom the Chiefs of Manitoba gave the mandate to build the Manitoba First Nations Network of the Future and the consent to continue to secure investments and funding to bring high-speed Internet to Manitoba First Nations, and to work with surrounding communities.

For more information on Clear Sky Connections, please visit the CSC Website at www.clearskyconnections.ca/about-us and follow CSC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clearskyconnections

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