Proposed provincial law aims to bring better Internet to rural areas, including those in Niagara region

Rural internet Photo credit: BigStock

The Ontario government is introducing a new bill to help connect more rural communities in Niagara to reliable, high-speed internet sooner.

The proposed legislation, called, the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021, which, aims to reduce costs to broadband providers associated with attaching broadband wirelines to hydro utility poles. It would also provide timely access to poles and to municipal rights of way to install broadband on municipal land.

“We are helping to build better infrastructure faster, while laying down the foundation for future growth, renewal and long-term economic recovery,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

He said that if the proposed new law passes that it “would help connect individuals and families, including in rural Niagara, to reliable broadband, and get more people back to work as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As many as 700,000 households and businesses in Ontario lack access to adequate broadband speeds or have no internet connection at all.

These proposed measures would help communities connect to reliable broadband sooner, so people can work from home, learn online, connect with family and friends, and access vital services.

“Now more than ever, we need to help ensure unserved and underserved communities are connected to reliable broadband,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. “By taking this step, our government is proposing to speed up Ontario’s broadband expansion, increasing our competitiveness, strengthening communities, and making life more convenient for families and individuals.”

Last November, the Ontario government announced an almost $1 billion fund to improve broadband and cellular services.