Huawei Canada is partnering with Ice Wireless and Iristel to connect more than 70 rural and remote Canadian communities by 2025.
This includes 20 communities in the Arctic, 50 in northeastern Quebec and more in unconnected parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.
During a press conference in Ottawa, Alykhan Velshi, Huawei Canada’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said Huawei Canada treated this goal as a necessity for Canadians.
“It is the foundation of communication and commerce. Everyone deserves to be connected,” Velshi said during his speech.
Velshi explained Huawei’s network infrastructure in the north would be able to withstand harsh winters.
“Few companies are capable of providing custom-tailored solutions to the far north — fewer still, I think, are willing to do so. But we recognize how important connection is to people’s lives,” said Velshi.
The announcement comes a little more than a month after the company partnered with Ice Wireless to deliver 4G LTE services to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. At the time of the announcement, Huawei Canada said services would be functional by the end of June 2019.
The partnership with Ice Wireless regarding the installation of network infrastructure that provides 4G services comes at the same time Canada is reviewing whether or not Huawei should provide equipment in the rollout of 5G.
Huawei Canada also partnered with ABC Communications, a small B.C.-based telecom provider. The Chinese telecom giant is calling the service ‘Massive MIMO’ for rural broadband. Its goal is to boost internet speeds in Lac La Hache.
While a decision hasn’t been made on if Huawei will participate in Canada’s 5G networks, Huawei’s chairman Liang Hua stated the company will continue to work with Canadian partners on other network deployment.
Huawei currently has partnerships with Bell and Telus related to 3G and 4G LTE network infrastructure.
Velshi noted that while the country focuses on 5G, it’s important to remember that many regions of Canada still don’t have 3G or 4G connectivity.
As part of the partnership, Huawei Canada commissioned three short films that profile northern residents in their communities.
The films, shot in Iqaluit and Inuvik using a Huawei P30 Pro smartphone and other equipment, will air as advertisements in Canadian movie theatres.
The Canadian division of the Shenzhen, China-based company also said it will be training 1,000 Canadians over the next year under the new National Information and Communications Talent Development Program. This will include “extensive training and learning opportunities for residents in Canada’s far north.”
Huawei Canada intends to work with partner organizations to “engage with post-secondary technology instructors to customize training programs.”
“The goal for the trainer is creating connection. Digital inclusion should not be limited to people and places where it is convenient to connect,” Chris Pereira, director of public affairs at Huawei Canada.
These announcements come following Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan revealed the ‘Connectivity Strategy,’ which includes connecting 100 percent of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2030.