Connecting the Atlantic provinces to high-speed Internet with the Universal Broadband Fund
November 9, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario
Over the past months, many Canadians have worked from home, taken classes, shopped online, and accessed government services remotely. The global COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for all Canadians to access fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live.
Today, Gudie Hutchings, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, highlighted an investment of $1.75 billion to help connect Canadians to high-speed Internet across the country. Originally announced in Budget 2019 as a $1 billion program, the Government is now providing additional funding to advance large, high-impact projects, which will leverage partnerships including with the Canada Infrastructure Bank broadband initiative. The program will include a $150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. The UBF will also allocate $50 million of its total budget for mobile Internet projects that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples. This investment will help connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026 so that they can better participate in the digital economy.
Parliamentary Secretary Hutchings also highlighted an agreement of $600 million with Canadian satellite company Telesat to secure low-earth-orbit satellite capacity, which will improve connectivity and expand high-speed Internet coverage to rural and remote regions across Canada.
Today’s investments will help make progress on the Government of Canada’s commitment to create over one million jobs, and its work to support Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern communities. As we take steps toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to make investments in infrastructure to build strong communities and a more competitive and resilient Canada for everyone.
The Government has already made significant progress toward the goal of connecting Canadians to high-speed internet. In the Atlantic provinces, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $122,449,226
in 21 projects, which will connect 145,634 households.
“High-speed Internet access is essential for the success of our communities, it is more than just a convenience. The Universal Broadband Fund will help bridge the digital divide and allow more Canadians to take advantage of online services including telework, virtual health care, e-learning opportunities, as well as fostering economic growth and making our communities safer. Today’s announcement takes a giant step toward improving connectivity in the Atlantic provinces.”
— Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
The Universal Broadband Fund was announced in Budget 2019. It is part of a series of federal investments made to improve access to high-speed Internet, which are expected to connect nearly 400,000 additional households by the end of 2023.
The Government of Canada has already made significant progress toward its goal of connecting all Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2030, by supporting projects and programs that will connect 1.2 million Canadian households over the next few years.
The Government of Canada will work with partners to provide all Canadians with at least 50 megabits per second download speeds and 10 megabits per second upload speeds, no matter where they are in the country. These speeds will allow Canadians to telework, participate in e-learning and access telehealth.
The Government of Canada recently announced a $2 billion broadband initiative as part of the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Growth Plan. This initiative will help connect approximately 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities, so Canadians can better participate in the digital economy.
Telesat Canada was established as a Crown Corporation in 1969, and is now a Canadian-controlled privately held corporation. It has employees in five provinces and one territory, and several countries around the world, and is the world’s fourth largest satellite operator.
Satellites in low-earth-orbit operate 36 times closer to the earth than traditional communications satellites. This means they take less time to send and receive information, leading to better and faster broadband service, including in rural, remote, and northern areas.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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