Rural communities to benefit from increased connectivity to high-speed Internet
OTTAWA, ON, March 3, 2023 /CNW/ – All Canadians need reliable and affordable high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. The governments of Canada and Ontario are taking action to bring high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved communities.
Today, both federal and provincial governments announced over $61 million in combined funding for six projects by Bell Canada, the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Keewaytinook Okimakanak. This investment will bring high-speed Internet access to more than 16,000 homes in 47 rural Ontario communities and 3 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.
The projects being announced today are part of an existing partnership between Ontario and Canada. On July 29, 2021, the governments announced a Canada–Ontario broadband partnership to support large-scale, fibre-based projects that will provide high-speed Internet access to more than 280,000 households and businesses across the province. This historic agreement was made possible by a joint federal-provincial investment totalling more than $1.2 billion.
On April 19, 2022, the governments announced an additional joint federal-provincial investment of more than $56 million for six new projects that will bring reliable high-speed Internet access to over 6,500 homes and businesses in Northern and Southwestern Ontario.
Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress toward ensuring that 98% of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet by 2026, and 100% by 2030. The announcement also brings the Government of Ontario closer to achieving its goal of bringing reliable high-speed Internet access to every community by the end of 2025.
“We all know that Internet is no longer a luxury in this day and age—it’s a necessity. Having fast, reliable Internet helps rural Canadians by levelling the playing field to access essential services like health care and education, participate in the digital economy, or simply connect with loved ones. Our government will continue to work side by side with our partners to achieve our connectivity targets and ensure every Canadian, no matter where they live, has access to high-speed Internet.”
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development
“High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural communities across Ontario. Today’s investment will help create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, and keep people connected to their family, friends and loved ones. We will continue to make investments like these to help connect every Ontarian to the high-speed Internet they need.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario
“Our government is making significant progress on our plan to bring reliable high-speed Internet access to every community by the end of 2025. Through these projects, we are expanding high-speed Internet access to more communities across Northern Ontario. In doing so, we are ensuring that people in these communities will have access to critical health services and will be able to learn and work online, participate in the agriculture sector, and connect with their loved ones.”
– The Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure
“Through more than $61 million in combined federal and provincial funding, we are expanding access to high-speed Internet to over 16,000 homes and businesses across 47 rural Ontario communities and 3 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. This will help build a stronger Ontario for families, workers and businesses and is part of our government’s comprehensive plan to ensure that no community will be left behind in today’s digital world.”
– Kevin Holland, Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay–Atikokan
“We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to expand our all-fibre broadband network to even more communities in Ontario. Our fast and reliable Internet connections help people in rural and remote communities stay connected at home and at work. Through our own fully funded investments and through partnerships like this, Bell continues to deliver on our goal of advancing how Canadians connect with each other and the world.”
– Bruce Furlong, SVP Network, Bell Canada
“This announcement is the culmination of many years of work, consulting with municipalities, government, businesses and the telecom industry. The challenge has always been finding ways to make it economically viable to provide high-speed Internet in rural locations. Despite the economic barrier, we must find ways to get our communities online with fast, reliable Internet service, and that does not happen without the generous funding programs provided by our federal and provincial governments. Our rural communities deserve the same access to Internet services as their urban counterparts, and this is a significant step in closing the digital divide. I couldn’t be happier for these communities, their residents and businesses, and the region as a whole. This is a generational opportunity.”
– Jeff Coull, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre
“Lac Seul First Nation has owned and operated its sustainable Internet service provider, with an innovative and experienced technical team, for over 10 years. K-Net is pleased to partner with Lac Seul through this project by building on its community-owned infrastructure to upgrade broadband access throughout the First Nation.”
– Jesse Fiddler, Director, Keewaytinook Okimakanak
- Canada’s Connectivity Strategy aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download / 10 Mbps upload.
- The Universal Broadband Fund is a $3.225 billion investment by the Government of Canada designed to help provide high-speed Internet access to 98% of Canadians by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% access by 2030.
- Today, 93.5% of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet or are targeted to receive access through existing program commitments, compared to just 79% in 2014.
- On July 29, 2021, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced a Canada–Ontario broadband partnership. This agreement will bring high-speed Internet access to more than 280,000 households across Ontario with a total investment of more than $1.2 billion, co-funded equally by both levels of government.
- The Ontario government is investing nearly $4 billion to bring access to reliable high-speed Internet to every community across the province by the end of 2025. This is the largest single investment in high-speed Internet in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
- As of February 2023, Ontario has finalized agreements totalling more than $2.2 billion for nearly 200 high-speed Internet and cellular projects across the province.
- In 2021, Ontario passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 to help speed up construction of high-speed Internet projects. To build upon this legislation, the Ontario government passed the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022, which further reduces barriers, duplication and delays.
SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
For further information: Government of Canada, Hugo Alvarez, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development, 343-551-7846, [email protected]; Media Relations, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, [email protected]; Government of Ontario, Andrea Chiappetta, Press Secretary, Office of Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, [email protected], Sofia Sousa-Dias, Communications Branch, Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure. [email protected]