Satellite Internet Coming to Saskatchewan

Say that three times fast, eh?

We’ve written before about the challenges of bringing broadband access to remote, rural regions of Canada (in communities like Black Tickle, Labrador) — and the resulting lack of Internet access options for rural residents in the north.

But there’s good news today for those who want broadband in Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) Minister Glenn Hagel and OmniGlobe Networks, Inc. (OGN) Chair Julian Costley today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a long-term strategic alliance.  The two companies will work together to deliver a satellite-based wireless broadband Internet service capable of supporting video-conferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other e-solutions to rural and remote communities across Canada….

Earlier this year, SCN and OGN undertook a six-month project together to deliver wireless broadband Internet service to several remote communities in northern Quebec.  The success of the Quebec project demonstrated large-scale interest for a national service combining satellite with terrestrial wireless access, inspiring the two organizations to jointly extend the model across Canada.

Omniglobe has years of experience delivering VSAT services (such as distant learning) to rural Canada. But delivering true broadband to Canada is going to require far more spectrum (bandwidth) then VSAT. Where will that spectrum come from?

The most likely answer is Ciel Satellite Group, which recently filed applications for 9 licences in Canada: 

On November 15, the Ciel Satellite Group filed nine applications with Industry Canada for multiple satellite orbital positions across several frequencies. The applications were submitted in response to Industry Canada’s Call for Applications to License Satellite Orbital Positions, the largest in Canadian history. Applicants who are awarded licences from the Call will have the opportunity to build and launch satellites to bring new spectrum into use for DTH, HD and broadband services, for the benefit of Canadians in all regions of the country….

David Lewis, President and CEO of Ciel, noted, "This is a key event in Ciel’s history and, at the same time, a defining moment in the history of Canadian telecommunications."

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