Ontario government opens applications for funding program to expand broadband access

The program aims to connect underserved and rural areas to the national standards for broadband speeds

The Ontario government has opened up applications for its ‘Improving Connectivity for Ontario’ program to expand access to broadband and cell service.

The $150 million funding program is designed to help drive economic investment and job creation across the province, while also allowing more people to work from home and conduct online learning.

Areas across the province that don’t meet the national standards for broadband speeds will be eligible for funding.

“Up to 12 percent of households in the province – mostly in rural, remote or northern areas – don’t have adequate broadband service, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,” the government stated in a news release.

The government is inviting telecom providers, municipalities, indigenous communities and non-profits to submit proposals to improve connectivity for Ontarians. The application deadline for the program is August 21st.

Ontario announced this program on June 3rd, and described its multi-year plan that aims to support approved programs as early as next year.

“By making these investments we will help to ensure every region in the province can participate in the modern digital economy, and contribute to Ontario’s economic recovery,” said Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, in the news release.

The $150 million investment is part of the $315 million ‘Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action’ plan. The government notes that this action plan has the potential to leverage up to $1 billion in partner funding for broadband infrastructure investments.

Source: Government of Ontario