New fibre-optic communications bundle coming to Eeyou Istchee this spring

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Most communities in Eeyou Istchee will soon have access to a new communications bundle for telephone, TV and internet with the same speeds and prices as in the rest of Canada. A deal reached between the Eeyou Communications Network and Distributel will see a huge improvement in their connectivity service as early as this spring.

ECN has worked for more than a decade to develop the physical infrastructure to make it possible.

According to ECN President Alfred Loon, the agreement will make Distributel responsible the service aspect for individual subscribers.

“We needed another partner for what you have to go through for the licenses to be able to provide service for TV and media,” he said.

Loon said they shopped for a service provider willing to agree to prices and service levels comparable to those in southern Canada. While ECN spoke to companies such as Bell and Vidéotron, Distributel made the cut.

According to Loon, ECN didn’t bother negotiating with companies that weren’t willing to agree to the rate card at the outset.

The advance in communications technology will be a boon for Eeyou Istchee economically and socially, Loon observed.

“With improved communications, people will be able to keep on top of what is happening so they can take action when they need to,” he said. “Some people consider it a necessity; some people see it as an expense.”

For instance, it will help provide better health care as diabetics will be able to check their blood sugar levels, send them to their clinics and then find out what they are supposed to do with their medication according to the results.

The deal covers every community with the exception of Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui.

The next step for ECN is to come up with a Regional Telecom Plan.

According to Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel, the company is excited to provide this service and believes the partnership with ECN is a good fit.

“There are a lot of reasons as to why this is exciting. We are getting closer to closing the divisional divide. Here in Canada we have lots of urban areas where they have many options, but then there are people who are more difficult to reach who either have poor options or no options, as was the case in northern Quebec,” said Stein.


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