ISED Canada to invest $16 million in rural internet coverage in Quebec

Court of Quebec

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada has announced that it plans to invest more than $16 million CAD towards improving high-speed coverage in Saint-Damien, as well as in the Indigenous communities of James Bay and Kawawachikamach.

According to ISED, the investment will help to bring internet access to more than 2,800 households and 13 rural and remote communities in northern and rural Quebec.

The majority of the funding will be administered through ‘Connecting Canadians,’ a program that provides impoverished communities with internet access at speeds of 5Mbps. The purpose of the Connecting Canadians program is to help provide Canadians in every region by providing ways to “seize new business opportunities, and connect with friends and family around the world,” according to the press release.

Three internet service providers will receive funding as part of this investment. ELPC, a French only ISP is set to get $109,000 to provide high-speed internet access 65 households in the Saint-Damien area.

Eeyou Communications Network in the James Bay region of Quebec will receive $8.3 million to improve service for 2,400 households. Lastly, Naskapi Imuun, Inc. of Kawawachikamach will receive $3.1 million from Connecting Canadians, $2 million from Infrastructure Canada and another $2.5 million from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to build out better internet access for 695 homes.

The funding was announced by parliamentary secretary David Lametti, on behalf of Honourable Navdeep Bains, the minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. This funding is part of a broader multi-year strategy dubbed “Innovation and Skills Plan,” which is designed to help create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

“Internet access is now an essential part of everyday life. Canadians go online for education, health services, entertainment and shopping. Faster Internet connections allow Canadians to innovate,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in a press release.

“It allows them to get the skills and training they need to qualify for well-paying jobs. The smallest businesses, no matter where they are located, can participate fully in the global marketplace and achieve global scale in a flash with faster Internet service. We can no longer consider high-speed Internet a luxury.”