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Province kicks in $2.3M for seven Northern Ontario broadband projects

Funding aimed at improving access for business, education and home use
(Adobe stock photo)

The province is ponying up $2.3 million for seven broadband expansion projects in Northern Ontario.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, the province’s minister of energy, Northern development and mines, announced the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. money in a June 16 news release.

“Now more than ever, there is a need to improve broadband services in Northern Ontario. For too long, the North has lacked access to high-speed internet with limited connectivity in many remote communities,” Rickford said in the release.

“Broadband is a key driver for economic growth, innovation and job creation and keeps our Northern communities connected to their families and businesses. Our government is proud to support these critical infrastructure projects.”

The projects include:

▪ $1,036,772 for the Corporation du Développement Économique et Communautaire (CDEC) de Dubreuilville to install fibre-optic infrastructure from Wawa to Dubreuilville, as well as to plan and secure partnerships with telecommunications companies for future broadband improvement projects;

▪ $461,971 for Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) to upgrade its fibre-optic network and install 11 in-line amplifier sites between Sudbury and Thunder Bay; 

▪ $240,804 for Tbaytel to deliver internet services in the rural areas surrounding Thunder Bay, including the municipalities of Shuniah, Oliver-Paipoonge, Neebing and Fort William First Nation;

▪ $232,500 for North Eastern Ontario Communications Network (NEOnet) Inc. to launch and administer its Broadband for Remote Areas program, which will provide grants to small and medium-sized enterprises located in Northern Ontario to assist with the purchase and installation of specialized equipment that will provide two-way, high-speed internet service;

▪ $173,000 for Mitaanjigamiing First Nation to upgrade broadband fibre optic cable and infrastructure in the community;

▪ $139,130 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to secure an 18-month contract for extended satellite bandwidth for the remote First Nations of Fort Hope, Martin Falls, Neskantaga and Webequie until permanent fibre optic cable is installed; and

▪ $110,942 for Keewaytinook Okimakanak to upgrade broadband fibre-optic cable and infrastructure in the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen community. 

The funding announcement follows an earlier allotment of $150 million, which will be parcelled out to rural, remote and underserved communities across Ontario.

It’s part of the province's five-year, $315-million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.