Ontarians in rural communities to benefit from increased connectivity
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 (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 Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced over $7.7 million in federal funding for Bell Canada, Cogeco Connexion, GBTEL Inc., Quadro Communications and Vianet to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of southwestern Ontario. Through this funding, 11 projects will connect over 2,800 underserved households to high-speed Internet in the communities of Allenford, Camlachie, Campbells Cross, Cedarhurst Park, Colchester, Connor, Deerbrook, Everett, Lucan, Marthaville, Oxley, Rosemont, Sauble Beach, St. Joachim, Tara, Thamesford and Wyoming.
The Universal Broadband Fund was launched in November 2020. The projects being announced today were approved within six months of the formal launch of the now $2.75-billion 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.
“Today’s investment of $7.7 million through the Universal Broadband Fund will help connect more than 2,800 homes in 17 communities right here in Waterloo Region to the high-speed Internet they need. As we build back even better, our government is focused on a resilient and inclusive recovery where no one is left behind, and this announcement is a perfect example. Through the Rapid Response Stream of the Universal Broadband Fund, we are helping ready-to-go projects receive faster approval so construction can start and communities can be connected more quickly. Congratulations to Bell Canada, Cogeco Connexion, GBTEL Inc., Quadro Communications, Vianet and every community involved in this important project.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo
“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 Killarney, East Ferris, Redbridge, and Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation 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. 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 $94,000 and to partner with the Government of Canada in providing residents of Campbells Cross in Caledon 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 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
“GBTEL is thrilled to work with ISED to provide the residents of Allenford and Sauble Beach with next-generation fibre optic services. Funds provided through the UBF Rapid Response Stream will go toward bringing these communities to life through better fibre optic solutions. This will drastically improve the economic situations in these communities and within South Bruce Peninsula. Better broadband and exceptional fibre services have become a lifeline to many people working remotely during this pandemic. We thank the professionals at ISED for working with us and look forward to successfully completing these projects-to the betterment of the community.”
– Richard Gils, President, GBTEL Inc.
“Quadro is pleased to be bringing our fibre network to Zorra Township. It has become imperative that all communities have access to reliable high-speed Internet services in today’s world. When completed, this project will provide the services needed for today and into the future. Quadro is dedicated to continuing our mission by enriching our customers’ experience through personal service and innovative products.”
– John H. DeHeer, General Manager, Quadro Communications Co-Operative Inc.
“Vianet is very pleased with this announcement under the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund, which will help us continue the expansion of our rural fibre-to-the-home network in the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio. This funding will bring ultra-fast and reliable Internet to rural homes in the township where hilly terrain and dense tree coverage present major challenges for fixed wireless and cellular broadband services. We would like to thank Minister Monsef and the federal government for their continued commitment to improving broadband service to rural Canadians, as well as the township staff, council, and mayor for their efforts in helping move broadband projects forward rapidly.”
– Brian McCullagh, Director of Business Development, Vianet
On February 8, Minister Monsef announced nearly $2.2 million for the Niagara Regional Broadband Network and Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited to improve high-speed Internet access in southwestern Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Rothsay, Drayton and St. Catharines.
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.