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Legislation would reduce cost, time of broadband development

Efforts aim to connect more Ontarians to fast internet speeds

Ontario is introducing new legislation that would make it cheaper and faster for broadband providers to hook up to hydro utility poles, providing more people with high-speed internet access.

The province announced in a March 4 news release its intention to submit for consideration the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2001.

If passed, the legislation would give developers timely access to hydro poles and to municipal rights-of-way to install broadband infrastructure on municipal land.

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According to the province, Ontario-based internet and telecommunications service providers face the highest hydro utility pole attachment rates in Canada.

An estimated 700,000 Ontario households and businesses are without “adequate” broadband speeds, or have no internet connection at all, the province noted. This legislation aims to remedy that.

The move is an extension of Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, a $1-billion commitment to improve broadband and cell service across the province.