The Province will invest $315 million over five years to expand access
By Diego Flammini
The provincial government is making it easier for rural and northern Ontarians to conduct business and remain connected in the digital age.
Today, Premier Doug Ford announced his government is investing $315 million over five years to deliver its Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. The plan includes a provincial broadband and cellular infrastructure program scheduled to begin in 2020-21.
“We’re going to make sure no community is Ontario is left behind in the 21st century,” Ford said during the announcement at the Lucan Heritage Museum in Lucan, Ont. Overall, “12 per cent of Ontario communities don’t have access to fast, reliable and affordable internet and cell service.”
The connectivity strategy could bring those services to about 220,000 homes and businesses, the government estimates.
Bringing better broadband access to Ontario’s rural community is important for farmers, said Ernie Hardeman, the province’s ag minister.
"Bringing broadband internet to rural Ontario is a win for everybody," he said in a statement. "It helps kids with their homework, farms with their operations and businesses to grow and create jobs in their communities. I'm proud our government is making this important investment across the province."
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is pleased with the government’s commitment to broadband investments.
Dependable internet for rural Ontario is part of the organization’s Producing Prosperity plan and the OFA is happy its members will eventually receive the services they need.
“We’ve been asking for rural broadband expansion to have the connectivity and the speeds that we need in rural Ontario to expand our businesses, and to be successful, and to add to the economy of this province,” Crispin Colvin, a beef and cash crop producer from Middlesex County and director with the OFA, said during the announcement.