Improving broadband and cell service for families, farmers and small business owners in rural and remote areas across the province
Now more than ever, people across Ontario need reliable broadband to work, learn and connect with friends and family. This digital divide has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, with far too many people in the province lacking reliable internet or cellular access.
To that end, our PC government was pleased to announce today it is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service through the new Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program. This funding, which is part of the province’s $315 million dollar Up To Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, will help create more economic and educational opportunities in rural and remote areas of the province.
“By doing their part and staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the people of Ontario have demonstrated the need to be connected to learn, work, and run their businesses,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and Minister of Infrastructure. “It appears that functioning remotely will continue to be a regular way of life for many in this new environment, and fast reliable Internet will be critical. The ICON program is an important step towards bridging the digital divide in Ontario.”
ICON, when leveraged with partner funding, has the potential to result in a total investment of $500 million to improve broadband and cellular coverage in underserved and unserved communities. Applicants will be invited to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The government will fund a portion of each approved project.
This is one of several initiatives underway to expand access to mobile broadband and high-speed Internet services.
Through this investment, our PC government can continue to take steps to bridge the digital divide and improve the quality of life for all Ontarians.
Every Ontarian deserves reliable, high speed internet. By investing in the infrastructure that will provide it, we are setting our province up for economic recovery and long-term prosperity.