CRYSLER — More than 90,000 Eastern Ontario homes and businesses are expected to see fibre-optic internet service arrive in their neighbourhoods within four years as the federal and provincial governments spend a combined sum of more than $362-million to make it happen. Fibre-optic internet service is top of the line technology and is hundreds of times faster than current systems.
Ontario has been teaming up with its federal counterpart as the Ford government aims to deliver high-speed internet access “to all corners of the province” by 2025.
Dozens of Eastern Ontario communities are in line for the improvement (see online: bit.ly/EOntario-fibre).
In one of the more recent projects highlighted by the province on Aug. 9, $32.1-million alone will be spent connecting 4,500 addresses in communities south of Ottawa, in the Marionville, Berwick and Crysler areas.
“Our latest investment to make high-speed internet accessible to more homes and businesses will make a positive difference in the lives of countless families and individuals in Eastern Ontario,” declared Ontario’s Infrastructure minister, Kinga Surma.
“By working together with our federal partners, we’ve achieved another important milestone in building a stronger, more connected, Ontario.”
“There’s more to be done, and the good news for our riding is that we’re continuing to accelerate these projects,” Leeds-Grenville MPP and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said.
The province has launched a procurement process to get the work started on its ambitious Eastern Ontario and broader provincial goals, though it’s not immediately clear when shovels might hit the ground. Money for the fibre installation will flow through the provincial Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program and the federal Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).
Canada-wide, more than 890,000 rural and remote households are on track to be connected to high-speed internet as a result of federal spending, according to the federal government, which has committed $7.2 billion to broadband. By the end of this year, over 435,000 households will be connected as a result of federal expenditures, including through Ottawa’s Universal Broadband Fund.
Money from Ottawa accounts for 40 percent Ontario’s goal of connecting every household in the province with high-speed internet within four years, while the Ontario government itself is pumping $1.2 billion into the ICON initiative — just over a quarter of the $4 billion Ontario has budgeted for broadband over six years.“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that internet access is essential for our communities and for our sustainable economic recovery,” noted rural Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP François Drouin, whose riding is among those slated for the upgrade.MPP Jim McDonell’s Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding is in a similar position.
“I know from experience from living in a rural area the disadvantages facing residents trying to access a wide array of online programs and services, and business operators who need to stay connected to customers and suppliers,” observed McDonell.