MP Erin O’Toole Announces “Connecting Canadians” Rural Broadband Initiative


Government of Canada launches program to bring high-speed Internet to rural communities

Bowmanville – Erin O’Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham, today announced the launch of Connecting Canadians, a new Government of Canada program that will bring high-speed Internet to 280,000 Canadian households that currently do not have Internet or have slower access. Between now and 2017, the Government will invest up to $305 million to extend access to broadband Internet at 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to 98 percent of Canadian households, mainly in rural and remote communities across Canada.

In the weeks ahead, Canadians and Internet service providers (ISP) are invited to visit the new Connecting Canadians website (www.ic.gc.ca/ConnectingCanadians) to offer their input on communities that could be eligible to receive funding.

For all Canadians, especially those living in rural and remote areas, having access to high-speed Internet helps create new jobs as well as new innovative products and businesses. As more and more Canadians work and engage online, ensuring those in rural and remote areas have high-speed Internet access will enable them to fully take advantage of the digital economy.

Quick facts

• Connecting Canadians delivers on the Harper Government’s commitment in Economic Action Plan 2014 to bring high-speed Internet to an additional 280,000 Canadian households in rural and remote regions of the country.
• The maps on the Connecting Canadians website were developed to obtain feedback from Canadians, ISPs, and provincial and territorial governments across the country to identify those communities that are most in need of investment for greater access to high-speed Internet.
• Information about communities considered in need and eligible for funding will be made public this fall, followed by a call for applications from ISPs.
• Companies interested in participating in Connecting Canadians will be invited to submit applications for projects this fall. The first projects are expected to be announced in spring 2015.

Quotes

“As we move toward Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, our government is proud to launch a new program that will connect 280,000 Canadian households to high-speed Internet. Connecting Canadians is about ensuring that Canadians, whether they live in urban centres or remote regions of the country, have access to the latest wireless technologies and high-speed networks at the most affordable prices possible.”
– James Moore, Minister of Industry

“The launch of Connecting Canadians is great news for our more rural communities in Durham. It will bring the benefits of high-speed Internet to even more people in our area, ensuring they can take advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. Through Connecting Canadians, our government is working to help Canadian businesses and individuals get access to the Internet speeds necessary for them to interact and work online while remaining in their communities.”
– Erin O’Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham

Backgrounder

For many Canadians living in rural and remote parts of the country, having access to high speed Internet brings with it new opportunities for entrepreneurship as well as access to new services. In a digitally connected world, ensuring that Canadians in rural and remote communities can connect and take full advantage of the digital economy is an important priority for the Government of Canada.

Between 2009 and 2012, the Government of Canada’s Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program supported the delivery of broadband Internet to 218,000 previously unserved households. Today, as technology evolves and the scope and scale of the digital economy continues to expand to new markets and inspire new innovations, the Government is taking action to build on the success of the Broadband Canada program.

Connecting Canadians
Through Connecting Canadians—a key component of the Digital Canada 150 strategy—the Government will invest up to $305 million between now and 2017 to identify and address the gaps in the delivery of high-speed Internet at 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to rural and remote communities across Canada and speeds of 3 to 5 Mbps in the remote, satellite-dependent communities of Nunavut and Nunavik in Canada’s North.

Through Connecting Canadians, the Government will work with provincial and territorial governments and Internet service providers to extend high-speed Internet services to a targeted 280,000 households. This will be done by providing incentives for the private sector to invest in wireless and wireline Internet services in areas of the country that previously did not have access to high-speed Internet services. A call for applications will be held in fall 2014.

Internet speeds of 5 Mbps or faster enable reliable access to new technologies and services such as videoconferencing, cloud computing and social media.

Extending this level of service to more rural and remote Canadian communities will enable access to digital government services, university classes and medical consultations and will open up opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs looking to start online businesses without leaving their home communities.

Connecting Canadians recognizes the special challenges faced in Canada’s North, which relies primarily on satellite Internet, and includes targeted support to help these communities preserve and expand their broadband access.

Associated link

• Connecting Canadians website (www.ic.gc.ca/ConnectingCanadians)

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