Regional service provider Distributel and Eeyou Communications Network (ECN) have announced a partnership to bring high-speed internet service to approximately 4,000 homes in northern Quebec.
According to a June 12th, 2018 media release, the Cree communities of Eeyou Istchee and municipalities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region now have access to “advanced telecommunications services with pricing comparable to major Canadian cities such as Montreal and Quebec City.”
“We expect [it] to take many more weeks to come, probably months, before we’re able to connect everybody” — Matt Stein, Distributel
Internet pricing ranges between $55 monthly for 60GB of download speeds up to 50Mbps and $153 monthly for unlimited monthly usage of download speeds up to 1,000Mbps.
“We actually have customers already using gigabit speed internet, and in some cases 250Mbps,” said Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel, in a phone call with MobileSyrup.
Of the approximately 4,000 homes set to connect to high-speed internet service, Stein said “hundreds are already online.”
According to Stein, the central challenge has been arranging installations for some of the service provider’s more remote subscribers.
“We expect [it] to take many more weeks to come, probably months, before we’re able to connect everybody that’s interested and raring to go,” said Stein.
Investing in high-speed service
While Stein didn’t disclose how much his company has invested in order to realize the project, Canada’s federal government and Quebec’s government have invested over $8 million CAD and $6.5 million CAD, respectively, to help fund the fibre optic network.
“The federal government committed over $8 million to this project because, like ECN and Distributel, we understand that the prosperity of communities depends increasingly on their access to high speed Internet,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), in the same June 12th media release.
“We actually have customers already using gigabit speed internet” — Matt Stein
Stein added that setting up the network was the result of a “four-legged partnership” between Distributel, ECN, and the federal and Quebec governments.
ECN is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 2004 as a result of a partnership between the Cree Nation Government, the Administration régionale Baie James, the Comission Scolaire de la Baie James and the Cree School Board.
As for what comes next, Stein said that he hopes to introduce service to Radison — a town of approximately 460 people — sometime later this year.
Update 12/06/2018 4:08pm ET: Story updated with additional reporting.