Thanks to a joint investment of $81.36 million made as part of Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed, 18,200 households in the Outaouais region will have access to high-speed Internet services by September 2022. The projects, totalling $112.09 million, will be implemented by Cogeco and Xplornet.
The announcement was made today by Will Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) and Member of Parliament for Pontiac; Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation; Mathieu Lacombe, Quebec Minister of Families, Minister Responsible for the Outaouais Region and Member of the National Assembly for Papineau; Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (high-speed Internet) and Member of the National Assembly for Orford; Robert Bussière, Member of the National Assembly for Gatineau; Johanne Hinse, General Manager for Quebec and Vice-President of Programming and Community Relations at Cogeco; and Charles Beaudet, Vice-President, Quebec at Xplornet.
For the deployment of high-speed Internet services in the Outaouais, Cogeco will receive $23.8 million to provide coverage to 2,890 households, while Xplornet will receive $57.5 million to connect 15,310 households. The investments announced will accelerate the deployment of reliable, high-performance infrastructure in the targeted municipalities listed in the annex. Over the next few months, Cogeco and Xplornet will take an inventory of the target areas to ensure that no household will be left without service.
Today, high-speed Internet services are considered essential in a modern society like Quebec’s. Access to high-performance, reliable and affordable Internet services is at the core of communities’ socio-economic development. The projects funded under Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed are a key part of the digital shift in Quebec and will promote access to telemedicine, distance learning, entertainment, online shopping and telework.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that connecting all Quebecers to high-speed Internet has never been more important. That’s why our government is investing to connect Outaouais households and businesses by fall 2022. With this historic announcement, and thanks to our good collaboration with the Government of Quebec, we’re increasing the potential for economic growth and helping improve the quality of life of Quebecers in rural communities.”
– Will Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) and Member of Parliament for Pontiac
“This is excellent news for the Outaouais region and for rural Quebec as a whole. The pandemic has shown us how essential high-speed Internet access has become for our communities, not only for bringing people together virtually but also for working, studying and doing business. The Government of Canada understands that it is urgent and vital to connect communities in Quebec and Canada. We are proud to participate in this important project and will continue to invest and partner with the Government of Quebec to ensure each household and business has access to high-speed Internet.”
– Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation
“The announcement of the deployment of high-speed Internet services by Cogeco and Xplornet is excellent news for our region. The investments announced are unprecedented and demonstrate the extent to which the deployment of high-speed Internet services in the regions is a priority for the Quebec government. This service has clearly become essential, not only to ensure the economic development of the regions but also to support the vitality of our communities. And the need has become even more critical during the pandemic. I am proud of our government’s progress.”
– Mathieu Lacombe, Quebec Minister of Families, Minister Responsible for the Outaouais Region and Member of the National Assembly for Papineau
“Our ambitious goal is to provide high-speed Internet access to the entire Quebec population by September 2022. The partnership agreement with Cogeco and Xplornet will allow for the deployment of high-quality infrastructure in the Outaouais. We are investing heavily to make Quebec a leader in connectivity.”
– Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (high-speed Internet) and Member of the National Assembly for Orford
“With the pandemic, high-speed Internet has become essential in our everyday lives. The investments announced are unprecedented and demonstrate that the Quebec government has made this file a major priority. Reliable, high-performing services are a key element of our region’s economic development and vitality.”
– Robert Bussière, Member of the National Assembly for Gatineau
“For Cogeco, this is an unequivocal commitment to the Outaouais region, and we are pleased to make an even greater impact in our communities. We are delighted to participate in this major project that will leave its mark on the history of Quebec and its citizens in the regions.”
– Johanne Hinse, General Manager for Quebec and Vice-President of Programming and Community Relations, Cogeco
“Xplornet is proud to have been chosen to carry out three separate projects in the region. This reflects our strong ability to deliver large-scale rural projects quickly. We thank the governments of Canada and Quebec for their vote of confidence, and we look forward to starting the work in the Outaouais.”
– Charles Beaudet, Vice-President, Quebec, Xplornet
Operation High Speed will give Quebec the highest connectivity rate in Canada, at 99%.
Some 150,000 households will be connected thanks to Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed, in addition to the 66,000 households already covered by other Government of Canada and Government of Quebec programs.
The Government of Canada has allocated billions of dollars to Internet infrastructure in rural and remote regions, including $2.75 billion as part of the Universal Broadband Fund, of which $1 billion comes from Budget 2021.
To date, the Quebec government alone has invested more than $1 billion to accelerate the connection of the entire Quebec population to high-speed Internet by fall 2022.
To reach the goal of optimal connectivity across the province in 2022, approximately 36,000 households will still need to be connected. These households are in areas that are particularly difficult to reach and sparsely populated. Technological solutions are currently being considered, and the strategy chosen to reach these households by 2022 will be announced at a later date.