Bearspaw First Nation has made a strategic acquisition of Edmonton-based Clearwave Broadband. Founded in 2002, Clearwave provides high speed internet service to homes and businesses throughout the Alberta capital region.
The move marks a major step toward expanding Bearspaw First Nation’s economic development portfolio, according to a news release from Bearspaw. It capitalizes on the experience gained successfully building and managing Morley, Alberta based Stoney Nakoda Telcom (SNT), a 100% Nation owned and operated Internet Service Provider (ISP) built and founded by the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in 2015 to address the major disparity in internet connectivity throughout the Stoney territory.
Prior to the construction of the SNT network, less than 10% of the more than 1,200 homes located on the Morley and Eden Valley reserves had access to internet service, with most of these homes having less than dial up speeds available. In 2015, through Partnerships with the Alberta Government through the Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative and Treaty 7 Economic Development Fund, the Stoney Nakoda Nation built a network throughout Morley and Eden Valley and today, more than 95% of Nation residents have access to high-speed broadband internet service.
“SNT has become a successful business and has resulted in telecommunications becoming a significant focus of Bearspaw’s on-going economic development initiatives.” said Bearspaw First Nation CEO, Rob Shotclose.
Bearspaw First Nation (BFN) Chief Darcy Dixon said the Clearwave acquisition also supports economic diversity in the community and is the first major investment by BFN since the establishment of the 'Ozija Thiha Legacy Trust' and release of Crown funds to manage, invest and control for the benefit of current and future BFN members.
With a 20-year history, Clearwave Broadband offers residential and business internet solutions. Bearspaw First Nation says it aims to maintain Clearwave's current services, staffing, network and operations.
The BFN has approximately 2,000 Members who reside primarily on the Eden Valley Reserve #216 located along the Highwood River west of Longview AB. and the Morley Reserve #142, 143, 144 located on the Trans-Canada highway between Calgary and Banff, AB. The people of the BFN speak the Nakoda (Stoney) language, which is part of the Sioux Assiniboine language continuum.