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Connectivity in rural Ontario

Connectivity in rural Ontario

The governments of Ontario and Canada continue to invest in satellite and internet technology to reach connectivity targets

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer 

Ontario is continuing to invest in bringing connectivity to more regions, particularly currently underserved rural areas. 

The province has partnered with Telesat, a satellite operator, investing $109 million in their Low Earth Orbit network.

“Ontario’s investment secures dedicated high-speed satellite bandwidth for local internet service providers to purchase at reduced rates, enabling them to provide affordable, high-speed connectivity services, including LTE and 5G, to various communities across the province,” said an August 6 release. 

“Telesat will play an important role in helping to connect rural communities where fibre is not an option,” Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s minister for agriculture, food, and rural affairs, said in an August 9 tweet. 

On Friday, the province also announced investments in high-speed broadband throughout the province, including $230 million in Central Ontario, $73 million in the Golden Horseshoe, $170 million in Northeastern Ontario, $362 million in Eastern Ontario, and $148 million in Northwestern Ontario. 

Those investments were part of a federal-provincial agreement. 

“Under this agreement, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have partnered to support large-scale, fibre-based projects that will provide high-speed internet access to all corners of the province by 2025. This historic agreement is being made possible by an equal federal-provincial investment totalling more than $1.2 billion,” said a July 29 release. 

“In addition, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is assessing opportunities proposed through the Universal Broadband Fund to provide additional financing on a project-by-project basis toward significant expansion of broadband in partnership with private and institutional investors.”

280,000 Ontario residents are expected to benefit from this specific investment, and nation-wide more than 890,000 rural and remote households are predicted to be connected to high-speed internet. 

Recently, construction workers broke ground in Dufferin County to put broadband infrastructure in place that will connect more than 250 homes and businesses to high-speed internet, according to an August 6 release. 

“The pandemic has proven that access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity for all Ontarians,” said Thompson said in the release.

“Families need internet to do their work and for school, and businesses need broadband to stay connected and compete in a global marketplace. These projects … are important steps forward in our government’s plan to connect every community in Ontario to high-speed internet by 2025.”

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