North Eastern Ontario Communications Network Inc. (NEOnet) was established in 1999 by a group of community development-minded leaders and organizations as a not-for-profit telecommunications development organization for the region. A digital divide existed between northern and southern Ontario, NEOnet was established to close this gap.
Over the past 22 years NEOnet has surpassed expectations and assisted in dramatically improving the ICT environment and significantly reducing the digital divide between southern and northern Ontario. An organization such as NEOnet is vital to continue the development of communication technologies throughout the region. Adoption and application of the more readily available ICT services requires knowledge that many residents in northeastern Ontario do not yet have. Residents and small businesses need and rely on an organization such as NEOnet, which acts as a resource, providing education on the opportunities that high-speed Internet offers.
The organization has the mandate to promote and develop the three pillars of the ICT sector:
Facilitate and encourage private and public sector partnerships that will result in the betterment telecommunications infrastructure and ICT-related services in our catchment;
Raising public awareness of information technologies and increasing their adoption, thereby increasing demand for services and fostering a more competitive ICT environment;
Promote the development and innovative application of technologies, especially in the economic, cultural and social development of Northeastern Ontario.
NEOnet's approach to large-scale projects aligns with its mandate: it works with stakeholders to develop applications, awareness and infrastructure simultaneously, so that funded projects are sustainable and they encourage competition.
The NEOnet catchment constitutes over sixty communities, municipalities and First Nations in a 200,000 square kilometre radius. The catchment area includes both the Cochrane and Temiskaming Districts, Gogama and Foleyet area, Indigenous communities within the James Bay Coast such as Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Moosonee, and Moose Factory.
The distance combined with the population density of 0.5 persons per square kilometre presents a significant challenge to improving the telecommunication landscape in our area. NEOnet has helped reduce the digital divide in rural and remote communities. Its initiatives have stimulated over 120-million dollars in ICT infrastructure development within the region.
NEOnet acknowledges that it operates on Treaty 9 Territory, the traditional Lands of Mattagami First Nation, Flying Post First Nation, and Matachewan First Nation, home to the Ojibway, Cree, Oji-Cree, Algonquin and Métis peoples.The lands on which we live today have been places of gathering for First Nations people for generations beyond our knowing. Before people arrived from the seas, these Nations lived, loved, and raised children in harmony while respecting all things created.
As our work spans across three districts in Northeastern Ontario, we extend our respect to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, their ancestors, their Elders and their valuable past and present contributions to our communities. This Acknowledgement is only the first step in recognizing First People’s rich history and the impact they have in our regions. We will continue to work towards supporting and celebrating the continuation of a living culture to further enrich our diverse communities, and we commit ourselves to be partners in healing and reconciliation with understanding and intention.
Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
North Eastern Ontario Communications Network Incorporated is committed to advancing accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization, programming and services. While this work is underway, it is never over. NEOnet operates within the culturally rich landscape of Northeastern Ontario, in which our stakeholders represent marginalized people, and have diverse backgrounds and experiences. NEOnet is committed to creating an inclusive environment that represents the many cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints of our region.