Akwesasne Invests in High-Speed Internet

January 27, 2021
By Amy Malyon

Cornwall Ontario – The residents of Akwesasne will soon be able to enjoy stronger connections with the introduction of high speed internet services.


Work on the project began on January 4, 2020, after the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne approved a $3 million investment in the project. Ontario East has been selected as the technical project management firm and DirectBore will act as the construction contractor. Ground work is taking place now with surveying lands, laying conduits and creating connections to homes.  Construction will include underwater installation as well, which is not a common practice but was the most feasible option to service every home and business.

“Our project team is taking every precaution to preserve the land and ensure minimal disturbance to the environment,” says Kylee Tarbell, Director of Economic Development “The first stage of construction includes directional boring, which is a low impact trenchless technique, specifically to install underground utilities. The reason we are doing underground conduits is due to the current poles being at maximum weight capacity and would require full replacements to hang fibre.  In addition, due to inclement weather, it is more feasible to place the infrastructure underground to prevent any damage.  This part of the construction includes burying 24,500 meters of conduits for the backbone section of Tsi Snaihne (Snye). This means that the main road areas within the District are done first. Then the second phase includes the last mile, connecting fibre from the main roads to the individual households, businesses, and institutions.”

Efforts to bring improved internet to the residents of the Northern Portion of Akwesasne has been on going for about seven years. Demand for high speed reliable internet services has recently increased due to the demands or remote learning and remote work as a result of the pandemic. Currently there is very limited internet access on the Mohawk territory, especially in the district of Tsi Snaihne (Snye), where the majority of the population does not have access to a reliable internet connection.

The installation in Snye is the first phase of a multi phase project that could see an overall investment of over $12 million. The entire project is scheduled to take 2 years to complete, with phase 1 taking about 6 months.

“Bringing fibre to the home is innovation and progression that’s been identified as a priority need for the community,” said Grand Chief Abram Benedict.  “We are committed to this project as this first phase will improve the connectivity of Tsi Snaihne residents, providing them with better access to the information and services they need, to be able to rely on their internet service for school and work, and to be better connected all around.  The project will later expand to the other districts as well.”

Once the project is complete the entire Northern Portion of Akwesasne will be equipped with high-speed internet. The project will be funded in partnership through the federal government, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. Due to the unique geographical location of Akwesasne, there is much negotiation required to finalize funding agreements through different levels and areas of government.

“The community of Akwesasne will own and operate the fibre infrastructure within the Northern Portion of Akwesasne,” notes Ms. Tarbell.  “The conditions of the fibre infrastructure include open access, meaning multiple Internet Service Providers have the opportunity to access the fibre to provide services to individual households and businesses at a competitive rate. The data speed is undetermined until the network is created; however, the goal is to support one gigabit per household.”

About the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, better known as MCA, is a Community Government, which is elected by the residents of the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne. Every three years, four (4) Chiefs are elected from each of the three districts within Akwesasne: Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island), Kana:takon (St. Regis) and Tsi Snaihne (Snye).


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