Historic Investment Plan Ensures Access to High-Speed Internet for All
July 16, 2021
TORONTO — Ontario is moving forward with its ambitious plan to bring high-speed internet to all communities across the province. Ontario announced in March its bold commitment of nearly $4 billion to connect every region to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. This is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history. It also includes working with the federal government to ensure everyone is connected across the province. As part of its plan, Ontario also announced a new innovative procurement process to help connect underserved and unserved communities. “Our government is bringing high-speed internet access to all Ontarians,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “This historic nearly $4 billion investment means every home, community and area in Ontario will have access to high-speed internet. Our new procurement approach and transformative investments will help ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to accessing our digital world. No matter where you live, you will have access to reliable, high-speed internet to work, learn, start a business, access vital services like health care, and connect with family and friends.” Infrastructure Ontario will lead the procurement process that will begin this summer. This transparent and competitive process will enable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to bid for provincial support through a series of reverse auction events for defined geographic areas, and based on requirements for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment. “Infrastructure Ontario is pleased to be working on the Province’s initiative to expand high-speed internet to all communities. Helping to create connected, modern and competitive communities is the mission of everything IO does,” said Michael Lindsay, President and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario. This approach builds on Ontario’s existing initiatives to expand high-speed internet in communities across the province, many of which are already connecting homes and businesses today. Ontario is now one of the few jurisdictions in Canada with its own comprehensive and proactive plan to achieve full connectivity. Over the coming weeks, the Province plans on announcing more projects to bring connectivity to communities throughout the province, along with additional details on how it will help ensure every region in Ontario has access to high-speed internet. High-speed internet is critical for access to vital services like health care, education, employment and justice, while increasing economic and entrepreneurial opportunity for everyone. The Province’s investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government’s record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.
As many as 700,000 households in Ontario lack access to high-speed internet or have no internet connection at all.
Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan is already providing internet and cellular access to homes and businesses in communities across Ontario.
The Ontario government is also helping to speed up construction of broadband projects by successfully introducing the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 earlier this Spring.
Last year, the Province launched the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program, a multi-year program that aims to support high-speed internet and cellular projects. The Province is expecting to announce approved projects soon.
The Province has invested in initiatives to improve connectivity across Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. It has also invested in high-speed internet projects in rural and Northern communities through other initiatives, such as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Next Generation Network Program.
Expanding access to high-speed internet is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government , which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.