Last week the provincial government announced more than $10 million in funding to bring high-speed internet to rural areas of northwestern Ontario.
The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, in partnership with Tbaytel, applied for $2.9 million that will bring high-speed internet to rural areas of the city as part of the Thunder Bay Fibre to the Home project.
“The requirement and demand for bandwidth are immediate and are quickly becoming the highest priority issue for municipal leaders, residents, and businesses,” said Eric Zakrewski, CEO, Thunder Bay CEDC in a statement.
“As many may know, due to COVID-19, businesses have turned to e-commerce as their main form of doing business and more and more people are working remotely. The availability of high-speed internet service will no longer be a barrier to success for businesses and remote workers in rural Thunder Bay.”
The Thunder Bay Fibre to the Home Project will see the installation of fibre-optic access facilities to benefit more than 2,300 addresses of homes and businesses in the areas of Alice Avenue, Belrose Road, Broad Oaks Drive, Mount Forest Boulevard, Highway 61, Loch Lomond Road and Government Road.
This is a multi-year project with completion dates set for 2021 and 2022. Areas expected to be completed in 2021 include Alice Avenue, Belrose Road, Veradale, 20th Side Road, Rosslyn Road, Highway 61, Mount Forest, and Broad Oaks Drive. Loch Lomond and Government Road areas are slated for completion in 2022.
“We know that, now more than ever, reliable internet is essential in our daily lives. With more of our rural areas connected, it means more businesses can participate in the global digital economy, more students can learn and, especially at this time, more families can keep in touch with loved ones,” said Dan Topatigh, president and CEO of Tbaytel.
“Vast terrain and low population density make it a challenge for Tbaytel alone to deliver this vital infrastructure across rural Northern Ontario. Bringing true fibre right to the door of more than 2,300 new customers throughout rural Thunder Bay is only possible when strong leadership makes funding a priority and great partnerships, like the one Tbaytel has with the CEDC, are formed. Tbaytel would like to thank the Government of Ontario for investing in this vital infrastructure and the people of Northern Ontario for their continued support of Tbaytel."
The Fibre to the Home Project will reduce the gap between urban and rural service availability and bring more economic development opportunities to rural Thunder Bay.
Oliver Paipoonge also received $2.34 million to bring high-speed internet to more than 1,700 addresses in the areas of Hwy 102, Mining Road, Rosslyn Village, Kakabeka, Hwy 130, Oliver Road, Nicholettes, Mud Lake Road, and Pole Line Road.
The project will span from 2021 through 2023.