Ottawa and Quebec invest close to $15 M to offer a more reliable and accessible network in the Nord-du-Québec region
November 24, 2020 – Chibougameau (Quebec)
Quebecers know that high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury; it is essential for everyone, including those living in rural and remote regions.
The current crisis has highlighted how much we all rely on high-speed Internet, and this need is sure to be even greater in the future. Now more than ever, it is essential that people have access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet in their homes so they can work, learn, and communicate with loved ones.
Today, Will Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science), along with Quebec representatives Gilles Bélanger, Member of the National Assembly for Orford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economy and Innovation (economy and high-speed Internet), and Denis Lamothe, Member of the National Assembly for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (wildlife and parks), announced an investment of over $16.5 million in the Eeyou Communications Network, a not-for-profit telecommunications corporation that provides broadband carrier services for the Cree communities of Eeyou Istchee and municipalities of the James Bay region.
This project will deliver a backbone network of optical fibre technology that will provide reliable, high-speed broadband to 16 communities, as well as a last-mile network using optical fibre technology to reach underserved households in three of these communities in the Nord-du-Québec and Mauricie regions. Moreover, the last-mile networks will improve broadband capacity for 6,176 underserved households in these regions.
Thanks to work that was recently completed in Matagami, Chapais, Lebel-sur-Quévillon and Chibougamau, the project in the Nord-du-Québec region can now serve 5,826 additional households and 252 additional businesses.
Funding is being provided as follows:
- $5 million through the Government of Canada’s Connect to Innovate program
- $3.3 million from the Connected Quebec program
- $6.7 million from the Plan Nord Corporation
- $1.2 million from the James Bay Regional Authority
- $324,494 from Indigenous Services Canada
“High-speed Internet service is key to the success of residents in rural regions of Quebec. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how important it is to be able to access the digital world—now more than ever. By investing in this new project through the Connect to Innovate program, we are continuing to bridge the digital divide so Canadians in Quebec’s rural regions can also benefit from all the advantages the digital world has to offer. To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $213 million in 54 projects, which will connect up to 250,293 households in Quebec.”
- Will Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science)
"We are committed to ensuring that all Quebecers have access to high-speed Internet, and we are more determined than ever to achieve our goal. The pandemic has disrupted the way people work and buy online, and so it is imperative that everyone can benefit from this essential service. The successful work of the Eeyou Communications Network has resulted in significant improvements to the network offered in the James Bay region.”
-Gilles Bélanger, Member for Orford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation (economy and high-speed Internet)
“In the pursuit of our goal of providing Internet access to all, every new business and home served by reliable broadband Internet service is a victory. I am very pleased to see these investments finally taking shape for communities in the Nord-du-Québec region. For our government, it is essential to ensure effective access to communication networks in remote areas. This news will have a direct influence on the daily lives of many of our fellow citizens.”
- Pierre Dufour, Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and the Nord-du-Québec region
“This project proceeded smoothly through exemplary collaboration with the Eeyou Communications Network, a non-profit organization that brings together the region’s Cree and non-Aboriginal communities. The secure and sustainable network infrastructure will make it possible to provide better high-speed Internet access to communities of the James Bay region. I am convinced that this development will contribute to the vitality of our communities and to the growth of the economy of the Nord-du-Québec region.”
- Denis Lamothe, Member for Ungava, Parliamentary Assistant to Quebec’s Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (wildlife and parks)
“The implementation of a powerful Internet network is a real challenge in northern Quebec because of the remoteness of the major centres and the size of the territory. However, access to digital technologies is essential to the development and vitality of northern communities. That is why the Plan Nord Corporation was involved in the financing of this major project. We thank the Eeyou Communications Network which has, once again, been able to carry out this initiative.”
- Jonatan Julien, Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord Region
On November 9, the Government of Canada launched the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF). This investment of $1.75 billion will help connect the regions of Quebec to high-speed Internet, faster.
Through UBF investment, the federal government has taken immediate action by launching a $150 million Rapid Response Stream to fund shovel-ready projects that can bring high-speed Internet to communities within the next 12 months.
The Government of Canada has also entered into a $600 million agreement to secure high-speed Internet access for Canada’s most remote areas—including the Far North—through Telesat’s low Earth orbit satellite constellation.
The Connect to Innovate program aims to improve high-speed Internet service in rural and remote communities across Canada.
The Québec broadband program was launched in 2019. It has three streams:
- The call for projects under Connected Regions, which ended last spring;
- The call for projects with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC);
- A call for projects aimed at finalizing work on high-speed Internet access throughout Quebec.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Head of Media Relations
Ministry of Economy and Innovation
418-691-5698, ext. 4868
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
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