First Mile & E-community
Anyone living in remote and rural First Nations or working with them knows how important the community is. Many activities within First Nations aim to include, involve and engage as many community members as possible. When designed by communities themselves, local development processes and community services are holistic and take into consideration the unique local contexts of First Nations.
Remote and rural First Nation communities are using broadband networks and information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve community, social and economic development and services. The First Nation Innovation project uses two main concepts or strategies to describe these activities: e-Community and First Mile.
Both these concepts are holistic and community-focused. Both e-Community and First Mile are recognized nationally and are used by First Nations as strategic approaches to developing local broadband infrastructure, networks and services in a way that meets local needs.
The First Nation Chiefs, through their national political representative body, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), have passed numerous national resolutions relating to broadband infrastructure. The most recent was at the AFN Chiefs meeting in December 2011. In this latest national resolution, the AFN noted that the e-Community ICT model is very compatible with a First Mile approach.
Both strategies – e-Community and First Mile – encourage the development and use of local broadband infrastructure as part of a broader plan for economic, social and cultural change in First Nation communities based on knowledge and information.