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‘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, Adam Van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Milton, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced over $1.3 million in federal funding for Standard Broadband to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of Ontario. This project will connect 329 underserved households to high-speed Internet in Zimmerman and surrounding areas north of Burlington.
The now $2.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund was launched in November 2020. 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 is a really important day for so many of our neighbours here in Halton. Fast and reliable Internet is essential for full participation in modern society. Rural households in North Burlington deserve the same access to high-speed broadband as city residents. Working from home, taking part in online learning and accessing telehealth services are all normal, everyday activities that rely on connectivity. Many rural residents are also farmers, business people and entrepreneurs who depend on reliable online access to participate in the global economy and put food on the table. That is why I am so proud of our government’s Universal Broadband Fund, which will ensure that 98% of Canadians will have access to high-speed connectivity by 2026, and 100% of Canadians by 2030. Today’s announcement demonstrates that for neighbours in rural Halton, progress on connectivity is well under way.”
– Adam Van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Milton
“We here at Standard Broadband are all very excited to bring our fibre to the home network to over 300 rural households and businesses in Burlington. Through the Universal Broadband Fund partnership, the community will have access to a network that will not only meet today’s demands but also continue to be scalable as bandwidth requirements grow in the future.”
– Tom Williams, President and CEO, Standard Broadband
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.