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, Helena Jaczek, Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced just under $125,000 in funding for Bell to bring high-speed Internet to rural residents of, Lemonville and Locust Hill. This project will connect 144 underserved households to high-speed Internet:
- 115 households in Lemonville ($84,000)
- 29 households in Locust Hill ($40,800)
The project being announced today was approved within five months of the November 2020 formal launch of the $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund. 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 populations of fewer than 100,000 people. These investments mean 481 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.
“Congratulations to Bell and the communities of Lemonville and Locust Hill on today’s important broadband announcement. This investment will bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to 144 households in these two communities, helping create jobs, improving access to health care and online learning services, and keeping people connected to their loved ones. I will continue working to make sure our communities here in Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville have access to the critical infrastructure they need.”
– Helena Jaczek, Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville
“Fast, reliable and high-capacity broadband networks will be key to the COVID-19 recovery and to social and economic opportunities for all stakeholders into the future. Bell has committed to further accelerating our industry-leading capital investment plan over the next two years to bring world-class broadband connections to even more communities. We’re proud to partner with the Government of Canada by investing $302,400 to connect rural households in Lemonville and Locust Hill to the fastest fibre home Internet speeds available.”
– Bruce Furlong, Senior Vice President, Access Engineering and Deployment, Bell Canada
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.