11/25/2012 01:55 EST | Updated 01/25/2013 05:12 EST

N.W.T. First Nation building own fibre optic link

The K'atl'odeeche First Nation in Hay River, N.W.T., has begun to build fibre optic infrastructure in the community.

Funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency for $215,000 allowed the reserve to lay 12 kilometres of fibre optics.

Right now, the line connects several municipal buildings.

The First Nation wants to lease the fibre to companies such as Northwestel and Telus who, in turn, can bring better internet connections to homes and businesses.

Lyle Fabian, who is with the K'atl'odeeche First Nation, said benefit of the new line isn’t only measured in dollars and cents.

"To give better healthcare in our community, to give better telecommunications options for the community and also more economic opportunity for businesses to operate on a fibre infrastructure," he said.

Peter Rinaldi, the director-general of CanNor, said information technology is important for small communities.

"This community has seen the opportunity to move forward with something that helps them, and has taken the opportunity that has been available to them," he said.

The reserve is continuing to try and raise funds to expand the network.

Northwestel said it supports the idea and hopes to work with the First Nation to help expand high-speed fibre optics there.