Joint venture formed with two leading companies owned by Manitoba First Nations
Distinct Infrastructure Group Inc. (“DIG”) (TSXV:DUG) today announced the formation of a joint venture partnership with Clear Sky Connections Inc. (CSC) and Broadband Communications North Inc. (BCN) to bring high speed internet to First Nations and surrounding communities in Manitoba.
The joint venture, called Clear Sky Indigenous Network, was formed to submit a proposal to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for the design, engineering, construction and maintenance of the proposed Manitoba Backbone Network. The project, part of the federal government’s Connect to Innovate program, will bring affordable, reliable high speed internet to 28 communities across Manitoba.
Under the joint venture agreement, DIG and its wholly owned subsidiary, Crown Utilities, will design and engineer the project in conjunction with Manitoba Hydro, and will perform all construction, maintenance and testing work between Manitoba Hydro’s fibre backbone and the 28 communities to be served. CSC will act as the project developer, while BCN will be the internet service provider, and will undertake ‘last mile’ construction and connection to individual customers.
The project is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, and be completed in December 2021. The first phase of the project will require approximately 2250 kilometers of fibre optic cable to be deployed.
“This project demonstrates the potential revenue synergies between Crown Utilities and DIG,” said Joe Lanni, DIG’s Co-CEO. “It is a strategic milestone for us, and we’re especially proud to partner with two such respected organizations on a proposal to build sustainable, economical, and Indigenous-owned telecommunications infrastructure for communities across Manitoba.”
“This partnership is exactly the kind of initiative we foresaw when we acquired Crown Utilities last year,” said Alex Agius, DIG’s Co-CEO. “We are pleased that the training of our new team members will take place right here in Manitoba as we build not only a fiber network, but a well-trained and sustainably-employed workforce.”
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