Putting the Last Mile First – Re-framing Broadband Development in First Nations Communities

Broadband infrastructure and networks are rapidly being developed on First Nations territories across Canada. As First Nations governments recognize the need for more broadband capacity to support delivery of their community and social services, end-users and households also demand increased broadband capacity.

Due to these pressing concerns, the First Mile project funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada came to life! ‘First Mile’ refers to the infrastructure and networks of a local broadband system. It focuses on local connectivity from the perspective of a community. The aim is to bridge First Nations communities and their local broadband networks and infrastructure together; allowing better and improved services that utilizes locally controlled networks.

Join this panel with in-person and remote videoconferencing speaker panelists from New Brunswick and Ontario to learn more about the implementation of a First Nations community-based broadband network.

Panel Participants 

Richard Smith, Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media

Currently Director of the Centre for Digital Media, Dr. Richard Smith has over two decades of academic and directorial experience at Simon Fraser University. A professor at the School of Communication at SFU for over fifteen years, he has also served as Director of SFU’s Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST) for the past ten years.

Rob McMahon, PhD student, SFU, Masters of Digital Media Program

Rob is a PhD Candidate at Simon Fraser University. He is currently researching communications policies and practices in and with First Nations. He has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and has worked as a journalist.

Susan O’Donnell, Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick (video conference)

Brian Beaton, K-Net Coordinator (video conference)


Panel Discussion with Remote Parties

Intended Audience 

General: Staff, faculty and students

Session Duration

60 minutes

Session Schedule

Wednesday, May 2nd
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lohn Policy Room (7000)


Richard Smith