Navigata's BC High Speed Internet Initiative

$2.1M project to bridge the ‘digital divide’ in Northern Communities

Vancouver –May 18, 2004 – Navigata Communications today announced the signing of a formal agreement with Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) Nadina & Stuart Nechako to bring high speed Internet to people in rural and remote northern British Columbia communities. This $2.1M project is the largest geographically of the Industry Canada broadband projects awarded in B.C.

The project involves an innovative partnership between Navigata Communications and the Community Futures Development Corporations of Nadina and Stuart Nechako. Internet Service Providers will have the opportunity to participate in the project by providing the delivery of high-speed access. The signing of this agreement is the culmination of over two years of work by representatives from community economic development organizations, local government, First Nations, technical specialists, businesses, local internet service providers and education/health care institutions from communities along Highway 16 between Vanderhoof and the Hazeltons.

“Navigata is proud to be part of this worthwhile initiative, and continue our long legacy of providing innovative communication solutions to B.C. communities,” said Tom Laird, Navigata’s CEO and President. “This project will allow these communities to access important e-learning, health and business Internet applications ”

One innovative aspect of the project is that the network being built will be owned and managed by community organizations, allowing them to maximize economic benefit for their communities. “CFDC Nadina and Stuart Nechako are very excited about the opportunities this agreement will bring to the region”, said Jerry Botti, General Manager of CFDC Nadina. Keith Federink, GM, CFDC Stuart Nechako added that “the availability of this new high-speed internet service will prove a real asset to both private citizens and local businesses”.

Following on the expertise gained over 40 years Navigata’s engineers will soon be on remote mountaintops, designing the state-of the-art wireless network that will provide high speed internet access to rural and remote communities. With the challenges of the rigorous building conditions and the realities of local weather, the new network will take over a year to build. Completion is scheduled for 2005.

For more information contact:
Kim Martinsen, CFDC Nadina, Smithers BC, 250 847-1389
Ellen Godfrey, Navigata Communications, 250 953-2680 ext. 325
Roy Spooner, CFDC Sturart Nechako, Vanderhoof, BC 250-567-5219

About Navigata

Navigata Communications, formerly known as WesTel, is a BC based telecommunications company that provides long distance, local access, data, Internet hosting, web development and phone card services (pre and post-paid) to business and residential customers in Canada as well as wholesale voice, data, and prepaid card services to wholesale customers across Canada and around the world. Navigata is a wholly owned subsidiary of SaskTel. Visit Navigata at www.navigata.com


About Community Futures Development Corporations of Nadina and Stuart Nechako

Community Futures Development Corporation of Nadina and Stuart Nechako are independent, non-profit organizations, directed by a volunteer board, with the mandate to assist rural communities to develop strategies for dealing with a changing economic environment. CFDCs are based on a philosophy that local decision-making and local development are the most effective means for communities to shape their future. The Nadina Region covers the communities and surrounding areas of Burns Lake, Topley, Granisle, Houston, Telkwa and Smithers. The Stuart Nechako region covers the communities and surrounding areas of Endako, Fraser Lake, Fort Fraser, Vanderhoof, Cluculz Lake, Fort St. James and north into the Stuart Lake area.

For more information, please contact:

Navigata Communications
Phone: 877-477-5266
Email: pr@navigata.ca