Connecting Quebec to high-speed Internet with Universal Broadband Fund

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Over the past months, many Quebec residents have worked from home, taken classes, and kept in contact with their friends and family through the Internet. The global COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever that everyone has access fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live.

Today, the Government’s Quebec Lieutenant, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, highlighted the launch of the Universal Broadband Fund. This investment of $1.75 billion will help connect the regions of Quebec to high-speed Internet, faster. Originally announced in Budget 2019 as a $1 billion program, the Government is now providing additional funding to advance large, high-impact projects, which will leverage partnerships including with the Canada Infrastructure Bank broadband initiative. The program will include a $150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process for projects that will allow shovel-ready projects that can be completed in the next year. The UBF will also allocate $50 million of its total budget for mobile Internet projects that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples. This investment will help connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026 so that they can better participate in the digital economy.

The Quebec Lieutenant, Mr. Rodriguez also highlighted an agreement of $600 million with Canadian satellite company Telesat to secure low-earth-orbit satellite capacity, which will improve connectivity and expand high-speed Internet coverage to rural and remote regions across Canada.

Today’s investments will help make progress on the Government of Canada’s commitment to create over one million jobs, and its work to support Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern communities. As we take steps toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to make investments in infrastructure to build strong communities and a more competitive and resilient Canada for everyone.

The Government has already made significant progress toward the goal of connecting Canadians to high-speed internet. In Quebec, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $213,685,648 in 54 projects, which will connect 250,293 households.

Quotes

“Whether we live in Quebec City, the Eastern Townships, or Abitibi-Témiscamingue, everyone should be connected to high-speed Internet. We will not stop our efforts until we have connected every Quebecer. This is the strong message we are sending today through our historic investment, which will connect Quebec households even faster.”

– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Quebec Lieutenant

Quick facts

  • The Universal Broadband Fund was announced in Budget 2019. It is part of a series of federal investments made to improve access to high-speed Internet, which are expected to connect nearly 400,000 additional households by the end of 2023.

  • The Government of Canada has already made significant progress toward its goal of connecting all Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2030, by supporting projects and programs that will connect 1.2 million Canadian households over the next few years.

  • The Government of Canada will work with partners to provide all Canadians with at least 50 megabits per second download speeds and 10 megabits per second upload speeds, no matter where they are in the country. These speeds will allow Canadians to telework, participate in e-learning and access telehealth.

  • The Government of Canada recently announced a $2 billion broadband initiative as part of the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Growth Plan. This initiative will help connect approximately 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities, so Canadians can better participate in the digital economy.

  • Telesat Canada was established as a Crown Corporation in 1969, and is now a Canadian-controlled privately held corporation. It has employees in five provinces and one territory, and several countries around the world, and is the world’s fourth largest satellite operator.

  • Satellites in low-earth-orbit operate 36 times closer to the earth than traditional communications satellites. This means they take less time to send and receive information, leading to better and faster broadband service, including in rural, remote, and northern areas.

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