Universal Broadband Fund – Federal government announces funding for phase one of the Pictou County high-speed internet project
Rural Nova Scotians to benefit from increased connectivity
April 6, 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, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced $4.46 million in funding for the Municipality of Pictou County to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of the community. With a contribution from the municipality of Pictou County of $3.32 million, this project will connect many underserved households to high-speed Internet in Pictou County and may create the opportunity for improved cellular coverage in the area.
The $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched on November 9, 2020. The projects being announced today were approved within 5 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.
Today’s announcement builds on the progress the Government of Canada has already made to improve broadband access in Nova Scotia. Since 2015, the federal government has approved over 568 infrastructure projects totaling over $678 million in federal investments in Nova Scotia communities. These investments mean 37km of new or upgraded roads are now making our communities safer; more than 56 projects are providing residents with cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water; and more than 125 additional housing units have been built in rural communities, helping ensure all Nova Scotians have a safe place to call home.
“High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural Nova Scotia. Today’s investment will bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to many households in Pictou County, and may also improve the quality of cell coverage throughout rural communities in our region. This investment will help create the spine for future phases of the project, which will create jobs in the short term and create the conditions for long term economic growth. Our government has now committed over $17.268 million to 29 connectivity projects in Nova Scotia, which will connect 17,328 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 to succeed in today’s economy.”
- Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and Member of Parliament for Central Nova
“This fund is significant in many ways, and I thank Minister Monsef for making it available. Not only is it very helpful in serving our rural residents but it also marks a high level of confidence by the federal government in the broadband plans our Council has approved for the County. It is also important as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Municipality is focused on keeping everyone safe during this difficult time, and a broadband network is a vital tool for residents and businesses. We depend on the network for health, education and sustainability. Being able to accelerate the implementation of a significant portion of the network will serve us well.”
- Robert Parker, Warden for the Municipality of Pictou County
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 (UBF) is a $1.75-billion investment designed to help connect all Canadians to high-speed Internet. Applications to the UBF were accepted until March 15, 2021 and are now being evaluated.
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
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