CENGN Announces Northern Ontario Broadband Project for City of Kenora

Tree-Based Wireless Distribution Approach will Bring High-Performance Internet to Kenora’s Northern Lake Area

CENGN is announcing the launch of an innovative project that will bring high-performance broadband access to residents located around four lakes within the municipal boundaries of the City of Kenora. CENGN issued a “Call for Community Expression of Interest” and Kenora was selected as the host community for this project. This project is part of CENGN’s Northern Ontario Residential Broadband program and will serve as a model for other communities across the province looking to extend high-performance internet service to underserved areas that are greater than 5 km from a municipality’s downtown location.

Camp Communications Selected to Provide Broadband Solution

Internet Service Provider, Camp Communications, was selected to address the needs of the Kenora residents in the Black Sturgeon, Schnarr, Grassy, and Austin Lake areas. Supported by CENGN program funding, the service provider will use radio equipment mounted in tall trees to establish a meshed network of lake-side access points. These access points will connect to fibre optic segments providing new services to clusters of homes via utility poles along lakeside roads.

This innovative approach will bring a range of broadband internet access services to the residents without the need to build new towers. The wireless technologies used will include 60GHz high-speed backhaul, and 5GHz WIFI distribution, with optical fibre connected to homes allowing for services up to 150 Mbps download /30 Mbps upload.

This project promises several benefits, including:


“CENGN is pleased to work with Camp Communications to bring reliable, high-speed broadband internet access to the under-served northern lake regions of the City of Kenora,” said Jean-Charles Fahmy, President and CEO of CENGN. “This project highlights key innovation approaches using radio equipment mounted on trees within the natural landscape to distribute improved broadband coverage. By supporting and documenting this innovative solution we will gain a strong blueprint to help address the business and technological challenges of similar communities in Northern Ontario and across the province.”

“Access to reliable broadband internet is essential for all Ontarians, no matter where they live. Businesses, families, schools and hospitals in rural and Northern communities need fast connections just as much as in urban areas,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade. “This innovative new project will mean secure and reliable internet and cellular connectivity for the northern lake region within the City of Kenora municipal boundaries, bringing long-overdue cost-effective and high-speed solutions for those who live and work in the region.”

Home on Beautiful Schnarr Lake
Home on Beautiful Schnarr Lake

“For too long, too many regions in Northwestern Ontario lacked access to reliable broadband. Today’s announcement from CENGN is a turning point to bring modern, state-of-the-art broadband to Kenora’s beautiful northern lake region,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “This new fibre-optic connection will stand as legacy infrastructure in the region, delivering broadband access to the good people across Black Sturgeon, Schnarr, Grassy, and Austin Lake areas for years to come.”

“On behalf of the City of Kenora, we applaud Camp Communications for being selected for the Northern Ontario Residential Broadband program to bring this innovative solution to our municipality. As we have seen over the last year, having internet access is critical for education, business, and staying connected. Not only will this program establish a reliable broadband service for the four lake areas, but it takes into account the natural beauty that the residents of Black Sturgeon, Schnarr, Grassy and Austin Lake appreciate and value by eliminating the need for new infrastructure.” States City of Kenora Mayor Daniel Reynard, “The internet service provided by Camp Communications makes choosing Kenora and rural living more appealing and ideal for today’s technology needs.”

“Camp Communications is eager to bring our unique and innovative approach to extending excellent broadband services to more underserved residents in the Kenora area”, said Arlin Conway, President of Camp Communications. “Using natural landscape and trees whenever possible to distribute broadband services has been key to the rapid growth of Camp Communications in the Kenora area and beyond. We are pleased to be working with CENGN to bring this project to the northern lakes region of the City of Kenora in the summer and fall of 2021.”

The Next Generation Network Program (NGNP)

This project is part of the Next Generation Network Program (NGNP), an Ontario government program powered by CENGN in partnership with the Ontario Centre of Innovation, which helps Ontario companies develop and demonstrate new wired and wireless technology, products and services. Other projects in the program are focused on smart miningsmart agriculture, and autonomous vehicles.

Quick Facts


Rick Penwarden
Senior Manager, Communications
CENGN – Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks
613-963-1200 ex:329


CENGN Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Program

Camp Communications

City of Kenora

Next-Generation Network Program

Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade

Connecting Ontario: Improving Broadband and Cellular Access

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About the Author

Rick is a proud member of the Canadian research and technology community, having an extensive background in tech commercialization and industry adoption of innovative technologies. Through his experience with start-up businesses and not-for-profit organizations, Rick is an outspoken advocate for the integration of technology to improve both industry outputs and society.

Over the past 5 years, Rick has managed the public relations and communications for CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks. At the centre of an organization that facilitates collaboration between tech businesses, industry leaders, academia and government, Rick champions the message that talent development and commercial growth in advanced networking technology is crucial to a thriving economy.

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