The Rural and Indigenous Communities in Northern Ontario will receive $2.3 million in seven broadband projects that will connect northerners to reliable broadband infrastructure. This initiative will allow people to stay in touch with family and friends, access public services and work and run a business from anywhere.
Broadband investments made through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) include:
- $1,036,772 for the Corporation du Développement Économique et Communautaire (CDEC) de Dubreuilville to install fibre optic infrastructure from Wawa to Dubreuilville, as well as to plan and secure partnerships with telecommunications companies for future broadband improvement projects
- $461,971 for Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) to upgrade its fibre optic network and install 11 in-line amplifier sites between Sudbury and Thunder Bay
- $240,804 for Tbaytel to deliver internet services in the rural areas surrounding Thunder Bay, including the municipalities of Shuniah, Oliver-Paipoonge, Neebing and Fort William First Nation
- $232,500 for North Eastern Ontario Communications Network (NEOnet) Inc. to launch and administer its Broadband for Remote Areas program, which will provide grants to small- and medium-sized enterprises located in Northern Ontario to assist with the purchase and installation of specialized equipment that will provide two-way, high-speed internet service
- $173,000 for Mitaanjigamiing First Nation to upgrade broadband fibre optic cable and infrastructure in the community
- $139,130 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to secure an 18-month contract for extended satellite bandwidth for the remote First Nations of Fort Hope, Martin Falls, Neskantaga and Webequie until permanent fibre optic cable is installed
- $110,942 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to upgrade broadband fibre optic cable and infrastructure in the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen community.
“Now more than ever, there is a need to improve broadband services in Northern Ontario. For too long, the north has lacked access to high-speed internet with limited connectivity in many remote communities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “Broadband is a key driver for economic growth, innovation and job creation and keeps our northern communities connected to their families and businesses. Our government is proud to support these critical infrastructure projects.”
This NOHFC investment follows a recent investment of $150 million for the new Improving Connectivity in Ontario program that funds broadband infrastructure projects in rural, remote and underserved regions of Ontario. This is part of the province’s $315 million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.
“COVID-19 is increasing demand for reliable broadband service to connect Ontarians to their work, education and their businesses,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. “It is clear functioning remotely will continue to be a regular way of life and fast and reliable internet will be critical to bridge the digital divide in Northern Ontario.”
Promoting and stimulating economic development initiatives is an important part of the government’s plan to create more good-paying jobs and opportunities in the north and attract new and expanded investment so northern communities can grow and thrive.