The Ontario government is investing close to $1 billion over six years to improve and expand internet and cellular access and fund broadband-related projects across the province.
Over 1.4 million Ontarians and up to 12 per cent of households in Ontario do not have adequate broadband and cellular access. This funding of $680 million announced today will build on the $315 million invested to support Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, a plan to expand internet and cellular access to rural, remote and northern communities.
“By providing high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved communities, we will create good jobs, unlock new opportunities for businesses and people, and improve the quality of life for individuals and families,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “With the world online these days, we need every part of our province connected with high-speed Internet.”
This investment will also double the funding for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program to $300 million giving the potential to leverage more than $900 million in partner funding to improve internet and cellular access in underserved areas.
“Today’s commitment to connect more people to reliable broadband and cellular service will make it easier for more people to work and learn from home, run their businesses and connect with others,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure in Ontario.
The investment is also one of the first projects to fall under the third pillar, Recover, of Ontario’s 2020 Budget.
Learn more about the first two pillars and the 2020 budget plan in this article.
The remainder of the Ontario 2020 Budget and the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan will be announced Thursday Nov. 5.