Opportunities for Information and Communication Technology Development in remote Northern Ontario indigenous communities in spite of COVID-19 physical restrictions
Infrastructure and ICT Development in remote Northern Ontario regions
This article describes an opportunity to implement an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy in remote indigenous communities across Northern Ontario where access to the digital environment currently is very difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic research in the digital environment with indigenous communities has shown that implementation and development of ICT is a need for all communities and a right for each individual. We aim to show how the implementation and development of this ICT could be done by building on existing research on the adoption of digital technology by indigenous communities. Our research shows that using institutional theory in the context of indigenous self-determination and in connection with the United Nation’s Sustainable Agenda 2030, the enabling of ICT infrastructure can result in positive impacts for indigenous communities. Our article provides two tangible recommendations, that if implemented can lead Northern Ontario indigenous communities to sustainable ICT infrastructure development. One recommendation is to leapfrog current hardware infrastructure by leveraging advances in High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) that provide digital access where terrestrial digital environments does not. The second recommendation is for Northern Ontario indigenous communities to leverage the current requirements by educational institutions in Ontario to enhance experiential learning through service and community-based learning through educational partnerships. We believe that through the implementation of these recommendations, the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to physically isolated communities in Northern Ontario can be alleviated.
Arksey, H., & O’Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 19–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/1364557032000119616
Arriaga, M., Nasr, E., & Rutherford, H. (2017). Renewable energy microgrids in Northern remote communities. IEEE Potentials, 36(5), 22-29. https://doi.org/10.1109/MPOT.2017.2702798.
Burr, J. (2017). The feasibility of Google’s project Loon. Australian National University (ANU) College of Engineering, Technical report #5350804. Retrieved July 7, 2020 from http://users.cecs.anu.edu.au/~Chris.Browne/student_work/example_work/15_2226_lp_jamesb.pdf
Digital Transformation Service. (2019, July 16). High-speed access for all: Canada’s connectivity strategy. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/139.nsf/eng/h_00002.html
DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The Iron Cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147–160. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095101
DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1991). Introduction. In Powell, W. W. & DiMaggio, P. J. (Eds), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, (pp. 1-38). University of Chicago Press.
Doong, S., & Ho, S. (2012). The impact of ICT development on the global digital divide. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 11(5), 518-533. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2012.02.002
Feleke, B. (2020, July 08). Google launches balloon-powered Internet service in Kenya. Retrieved July 09, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/08/africa/google-kenya-balloons/index.html
Friedel, T., Archibald, J., Head, R. B., Martin, G., & Muñoz, M. (2012). Editorial - Indigenous pedagogies: Resurgence and restoration. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 35(1).
Government of Canada. (2019, July 16). High-speed access for all: Canada's connectivity strategy. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/139.nsf/eng/h_00002.html
Handyside, H. (2017, August 1). GCI completes critical milestone in construction of TERRA high-speed broadband network. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.gci.com/about/news-releases-archive/terra-milestone-completed
Hudson, H. E., Hanna, V., Hill, A., Parker, K., Sharp, S., Spiers, K., & Wark, K. (2012). Toward universal broadband in rural Alaska. Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11122/3909
Kapri, S., & Singh, P. (2016). Internet penetration and Google Loon as a last mile solution. International Journal of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, 3(4), 41-45
La Lopa, J. M. (2012). Service-learning: Connecting the classroom to the community to generate a robust and meaningful learning experience for students, faculty, and community partners. Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, 10, 168-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/15428052.2012.680863
McMahon, R. (2011). The institutional development of Indigenous broadband infrastructure in Canada and the U.S.: Two paths to “digital self-determination.” Canadian Journal of Communication, 36(1), 115-140. https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2011v36n1a2372
McMahon, R., O’Donnell, S., Smith, R., Walmark, B., Beaton, B., & Simmonds, J. (2011). Digital divides and the “First Mile”: Framing First Nations broadband development in Canada. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.18584/iipj.2011.2.2.2
Mhlanga, D., & Moloi, T. (2020). COVID-19 and the digital transformation of education: What are we learning on 4ir in South Africa? Education Sciences, 10(7), 180. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10070180
Mignone, J., & Henley, H. (2009). Impact of information and communication technology on social capital in aboriginal communities in Canada. Journal of Information, Information Technology, and Organizations, 4, 127-145. https://doi.org/10.28945/621
Mignone, J., O'Neil, J., Ross, W., & Brown, J. (2008). Information and communication technology in Aboriginal communities in Canada: Increasing Aboriginal social capital. Faculty of Human Ecology, University of Manitoba. Retrieved from http://kta.on.ca/pdf/IASCFinalReport.pdf
O'Donnell, S., Beaton, B., McMahon, R., Hudson, H. E., Williams, D., & Whiteduck, T. (2016, June). Digital technology adoption in remote and northern Indigenous communities in Canada. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Conference. University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.
Oliveira, T. A., Oliver, M., & Ramalhinho, H. (2020). Challenges for connecting citizens and smart cities: ICT, e-governance and blockchain. Sustainability, 12(7), 2926. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072926
Science and Economic Development Canada. (2018, December 28). Rural and remote communities in Northern Ontario will benefit from faster Internet. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/rural-and-remote-communities-in-northern-ontario-will-benefit-from-faster-Internet-689883861.html
Signals Research Group. (2020, February). Loon and a terrestrial LTE Network: How Loon coverage impacts an existing terrestrial LTE network, the interactions between the two networks, and the Loon user experience. Report prepared by Signals Research Group on behalf of Loon LLC. Retrieved from https://signalsresearch.com/issue/loon-and-a-terrestrial-lte-network/
Simon, J., Burton, K., Lockhart, E., & O'Donnell, S. (2014). Post-secondary distance education in a contemporary colonial context: Experiences of students in a rural First Nation in Canada. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1). 1-19. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v15i1.1357
Statistics Canada. (2017). Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census. The Daily. Oct 25. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 11‐001‐X. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025a-eng.pdf?st=lUtLyVud
Sustainable Development Goals. (2019). Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (2019). Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld