Universal Broadband Fund–supported projects will bring high-speed Internet to southwestern Ontario
Rural Ontarians to benefit from increased connectivity
February 8, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections. Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home. Right now, too many Canadians living in rural and remote communities lack access to high-speed Internet. Through the Universal Broadband Fund’s (UBF) Rapid Response Stream, the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to get Canadians connected to the high-speed Internet they need.
Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced nearly $2.2 million in funding for Niagara Regional Broadband Network and Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of southwestern Ontario. Three projects will connect 310 underserved households to high-speed Internet in the regions of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Rothsay, Drayton and St. Catharines.
The $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched on November 9, 2020. The projects being announced today were approved within two months of the formal launch of the program. Projects funded under the UBF, as well as through other public and private investments, will help connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% connectivity by 2030.
To facilitate applications for projects like these ones, the UBF provides a pathfinder service for applicants, particularly for those who need more support to build partnerships, find potential sources of funding and navigate the application process.
Today’s announcement builds on the progress the Government of Canada has already made to support Canadians living in rural, remote and northern communities in Ontario. Since 2015, the federal government has invested more than $1.4 billion in infrastructure projects in small and rural Ontario communities. These investments mean 480 km of new or upgraded roads that are making our communities safer; more than 847 projects that are providing residents with cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water; and more than 3,303 additional housing units in rural communities, helping ensure all Ontarians have a safe place to call home.
“High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural Ontario. Today’s investment will bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to 310 households in Southwestern Ontario, helping create jobs, improving access to health care and online learning services, and keeping people connected to their loved ones. Our government has committed over $205 million to 17 connectivity projects in Ontario, which will connect 19,657 more households to better, faster Internet. We will continue to make investments like these to help connect every Canadian to the high-speed Internet they need.”
- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“NRBN is thrilled to be working with the Government of Canada to continue expanding our fibre-optic network throughout Niagara. These investments will help provide access to reliable high-speed Internet at a time when connectivity is essential to good quality of life. NRBN, being municipally owned and community focused, is proud to continue achieving our goal of helping more Canadians in Niagara get connected.”
- Geoff Heinen, President, Niagara Regional Broadband Network
“Mornington is thrilled to work in partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to bring true high-speed Internet services to this community. One of Mornington’s core principles is to connect the underserved, which aligns perfectly with the UBF Rapid Response Stream. Once this project is complete, working from home will become practical and smart agriculture will become more efficient. We’re eager to break ground and start construction!”
- Kenneth Naylor, General Manager, Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited
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.
Applications to the Universal Broadband Fund are being accepted until 3:00 p.m. (ET) on February 15, 2021.
The UBF is part of a suite of federal investments to improve high-speed Internet. The suite includes the Connect to Innovate program, which is expected to connect nearly 400,000 households by 2023, and the recently announced $2-billion broadband initiative from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
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