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Broadband Challenges in Remote and Indigenous Communities Featured in December 13th Conference

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NORTH BAY, Ontario, Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than half of rural households and two-thirds of households on First Nation reserves do not have access to high-speed broadband connections, and approaches to resolve the issue have thus far been unsuccessful, according to a report featured in the upcoming conference.

The next installment of Canada’s Rural & Remote Broadband Communities ( conference, with i-VALLEY, will be held Monday, December 13, 2021. Conference founder, Amedeo Bernardi stated, “COVID has fundamentally changed our expectations for connectivity anywhere in Canada. Access to reliable, sufficient and affordable broadband has become an essential public good as opposed to just a consumer good.”

Dr. Karen Barnes will lead off the day with her presentation of Waiting to Connect, the expert panel report from the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). The report examines the systemic issues that have resulted in a persistent connectivity gap, and the promising practices and guiding principles that can help achieve equitable connectivity.

Visit to download the report.

Dr. Barnes recently retired as President of Yukon University (formerly Yukon College) in Whitehorse, Yukon, a role she held since 2011. Dr. Barnes has chaired the governing committees for the Yukon Research Centre and the Northern Institute of Social Justice, and co-chaired the Colleges and Institutes Canada committee that developed the Indigenous Protocol for Canadian Colleges and Institutes. She currently works with other college and university presidents in Canada to raise the profile of colleges serving rural and remote communities.

Following the presentation, Dr. Barnes will be joined by Pam Tobin and Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones to discuss the report’s themes in relation to their own experiences. The panel will be moderated by Barry Gander, Co-Founder of i-VALLEY. i-VALLEY is working on Canada’s largest rural municipal broadband project, in Nova Scotia. “We have treasured our association with the CRRBC,” said Mr. Gander, “They are pulling together critical elements of Canada’s broadband solution.”

Pam Tobin has worked extensively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations across Canada. She has also worked with Indigenous populations of Guatemala and Eastern Siberia. Her work has focused on access to care, community-based research, environmental health and chronic disease management. Pam is working with i-VALLEY in BC on an innovative approach to broadband with the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

Mellissa D'Onofrio-Jones is the CEO for the Ontario Library Service, an organization that works with Public Library Boards and First Nation Public Libraries. The OLS is committed to providing responsive, reliable, trusted services and supports to the public library sector in Ontario, so they are best able to meet the needs of their unique communities. The OLS is currently administering the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative on behalf of the Province of Ontario to improve internet connectivity in at least fifty public library locations in unserved and underserved communities in Ontario.

Make sure to register now for this unique and timely event at

Other sessions will include:

“Managing Expectations” a discussion of Open Access models and opportunities for service innovation.

Rural technology update featuring “TV White Space”.

“The Perfect Storm” highlighting rural funding project deadlines and the supply chain crisis.

This is the next installment of the Canadian Rural and Remote Broadband Community conference and continues to provide a tremendous information sharing forum for community leaders, rural advocates, service providers and government, especially as Canada continues to cope with the impacts of COVID.

This conference will be essential for anyone who wants to better understand rural and remote broadband challenges, engage with other stakeholders to learn about their experiences, and explore the options to collaborate so to deliver effective solutions.

Please click here for registration packages and details.

Thank you to the following sponsors and partners for their support of this important event!

Founding Sponsor

Major Sponsors
6Harmonics, IBI Group, SCi Group

Event Partners
CCA, FarrPoint, i-Valley, Pardal Ventures Inc., YorkNet

Media Partner

For more information, please contact Amedeo Bernardi at

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