Government of Canada invests over $6 million to bring high-speed Internet to 2,374 more homes in central and eastern Ontario

News release

Ontarians in rural communities to benefit from increased connectivity

May 26, 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 over $6 million in federal funding for Bell, Cogeco Connexion and Lakeland Networks. These investments will bring high-speed Internet to rural residents in 15 communities in the regions of Clarington, Lake of Bays Township, Leeds and Grenville, Merrickville-Wolford, Northumberland County, Spencerville, Newtonville, Newcastle, West Guilford, Baysville, the Municipality of Dysart et al, and Wasauksing First Nation. These projects will connect 2,374 underserved households in eastern and central Ontario to high-speed Internet.

Funding will be distributed as follows:

  • Bell: $2,637,164
  • Cogeco Connexion: $2,855,180
  • Lakeland Networks: $701,055

The $2.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched on November 9, 2020. The projects being announced today were approved within six 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 critical infrastructure in Ontario. Since 2015, the federal government has invested more than $2.85 billion in over 4,060 infrastructure projects in Ontario communities with a population of fewer than 100,000 people. These investments mean 452 km of new or upgraded roads that are making our communities safer; more than 938 projects to provide residents with cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water; and more than 5,427 additional housing units built in rural communities, helping ensure all Ontarians have a safe place to call home.

Quotes

“This investment will connect 2,374 more households in the province to high-speed Internet. It will mean improved health and safety as well as more jobs and economic development for our region. In the past five years, the Government of Canada has invested $250 million to connect 90,000 households in Ontario to high-speed Internet. This is essential for the single mom working from home while helping her kids with online learning, for the entrepreneur moving her business online and for the farming family innovating and ensuring our food security. Our government will continue to work with all partners to connect as many households to this essential service as quickly as possible.”
- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very clear that high-speed Internet is essential for every Canadian.  As we moved schools, businesses and even our social relationships online, disparities between communities with inconsistent or no Internet access became obvious, and that is unacceptable. That is why our government created the Universal Broadband Fund: to ensure communities like those in the regions of Northumberland County, Leeds and Grenville, Merrickville-Wolford, Spencerville, Newtonville, Newcastle, Clarington, Wasauksing First Nation, Lake of Bays Township and West Guilford have the Internet capability they need to participate and succeed in today’s world. Thank you to the regional Internet providers for their partnership in this effort to provide broadband Internet access to these communities.”
- Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Oakville North–Burlington

“Access to high-speed broadband networks will be a driver of Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and of future social and economic prosperity, and Bell has committed to further accelerating our industry-leading capital investment plan over the next two years to connect even more communities across the country. We’re proud to invest $2,129,227 and to partner with the Government of Canada in providing residents in Baysville, Merrickville-Wolford, Newtonville, Newcastle, Clarington, Spencerville and West Guilford with access to the fastest fibre home Internet speeds available.”
- Bruce Furlong, Senior Vice-President, Access Engineering and Deployment, Bell Canada

“Cogeco is thrilled to move ahead with these broadband infrastructure projects. As part of these investments, we will deploy our Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) solution capable of delivering speeds of up to 1 Gbps and enabling services comparable to major urban centres. This will concretely contribute to reducing the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Ontario, which is crucial for the communities we serve, while also driving economic recovery.”
- Matt Wickham, Vice-President and General Manager, Ontario Region, Cogeco Connexion

“Lakeland Networks is pleased to work in partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to continue expanding our fibre-optic network throughout Wasauksing First Nation, providing high-speed broadband service to 159 homes. This investment will help provide access to reliable high-speed Internet at a time when connectivity is essential to good quality of life. Lakeland Networks is proud to continue achieving our goal of helping more Canadians get connected with the timely contribution from the federal government.”
- Margaret Maw, Chief Financial Officer, Lakeland Holding Ltd.

Quick facts

  • 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 $2.75-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.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-Pier Baril
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
613-295-8123
Marie-Pier.Baril@cfc-swc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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