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Now more than ever, Ontarians need access to reliable high-speed internet in order to:
- stay in touch with friends and family
- access public services like health care and education
- operate businesses
- work from anywhere in the province
- create jobs and enhance economic growth
Our goal is for everyone in Ontario to have access to reliable high-speed internet and cellular connections at home, work and in our communities.
Investments, projects and initiatives
We are making an investment of nearly $4 billion to help connect all Ontarians to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.
We will build on Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, which is already starting to connect homes and businesses in communities across Ontario.
Expanding access to high-speed internet is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government.
We will continue to invest in high-speed internet and cellular initiatives and virtual learning as a funding partner while working closely with the telecommunications sector and other levels of government.
New competitive process
We are bringing access to high-speed internet to up to 266,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses across the province through a new competitive process.
This new, innovative and transparent competitive process, launched in 2021 by Infrastructure Ontario, gave telecommunications and internet service providers the opportunity to bid for provincial funding. We have now signed contracts with eight internet service providers to bring better access to homes and businesses in as many as 339 municipalities across Ontario.
Speeding up construction and removing barriers for high-speed internet projects
Ontario is also helping to speed up construction of high-speed internet projects in communities across the province through the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021. This legislation will help reduce barriers that can cause delays with building broadband infrastructure in communities and will help provide access to reliable, high-speed internet sooner, while strengthening communities and the economy.
We have also released guidelines and regulations to help provide more certainty for internet service providers, municipalities, local distribution companies (LDCs) and others to deliver high-speed internet projects faster.
Ontario is helping to remove further barriers, duplication and delays, making it easier and faster to build high-speed internet infrastructure through the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022. This legislation will help ensure underserved and unserved communities across the province have access to reliable high-speed internet sooner. Bill 93, Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022 was introduced on March 7, 2022 and was passed unanimously by the Legislature on April 11, 2022.
These changes remove barriers, duplication and delays, and help ensure every community in Ontario has access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.
Learn more about other high-speed internet and cellular projects and investments happening now across Ontario:
In 2020, we launched the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program. This is a program that aims to improve and expand reliable high-speed internet across Ontario.
In July 2021, Ontario announced an investment of up to $14.7 million for 13 new projects under the (ICON) program, which will bring reliable, high-speed internet to 42 communities across the province.
In October 2021, Ontario announced an additional investment of nearly $1.5 million to help bring high-speed internet access to four communities, impacting over 900 homes and businesses.
Ontario also announced a partnership with the Government of Canada to support large scale, fibre-based projects that will bring high-speed internet access across Ontario through a joint investment of over $1.2 billion from both levels of government. This $3.1 billion total investment will help bring reliable, high-speed internet to up to 280,000 more homes and businesses by the end of 2025.
In April 2022, Ontario announced an additional joint investment of more than $56 million with the Government of Canada for six new projects, which will bring reliable, high-speed internet access to over 6,500 homes and businesses in Northern and Southwestern Ontario, including several First Nation communities.
In March 2022, Ontario announced a pilot project, led by Hydro One, to help bring high-speed internet access to up to 1,450 homes and businesses in Brighton. Hydro One will use their existing infrastructure — such as hydro poles — to quickly develop high-speed internet networks. This will allow them to work with internet service providers to help provide high-speed internet access to more residents in Brighton.
Rural communities in Eastern Ontario are closer to getting near-complete cellular coverage.
On March 19, 2021 EORN announced that Rogers Communications was awarded the contract for EORN’s Cell Gap Project, to improve the coverage and capacity of cell networks in the region.
Rogers will invest over $150 million to upgrade and expand the regions’ wireless infrastructure over five years. This investment, along with provincial and federal government commitments of up to $71 million each, plus $10 million from all members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and most municipalities within the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus, brings the total value of the public-private partnership to more than $300 million.
This project will help rural communities take part in the digital economy, create jobs and improve public safety.
We are investing in the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology project to bring high-speed internet to nearly 58,000 more homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.
In total, the project will invest nearly $255 million to expand high-speed internet, including funding from federal, provincial and municipal governments.
SWIFT Inc. has awarded contracts to bring high-speed internet to thousands of homes and businesses in:
- the counties of Lambton, Wellington, Norfolk, Dufferin Oxford, Grey, Bruce, Simcoe, Essex, Brant, Middlesex, Perth Elgin and Huron
- the Regional Municipality of Niagara
- the Regional Municipality of Waterloo
- the Town of Caledon
We are investing $10.9 million to bring faster broadband to several northern towns and First Nation communities to help bridge the digital divide across Northern Ontario.
The province is investing in connectivity projects in underserved and unserved areas through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)’s Broadband and Cellular Expansion Initiative.
For example, NOHFC’s investment in Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation’s project will increase access to high-speed internet for the 600 residents living in their community.
These investments in small-scale, community-led high-speed internet projects support economic development and social well-being, helping to build safe, connected communities in every region of Northern Ontario.
Ontario is investing $109.2 million in Telesat's Lightspeed project, the largest space project ever undertaken in Canada, to help meet the increased demand for digital connectivity at home and across the world.
Our partnership with Telesat, a leading-edge Canadian company, will help support:
- diversifying Ontario's digital infrastructure
- paving the way for future economic growth and good jobs
- enhance Ontario’s competitiveness and innovation in the sector
Ontario has invested $30 million in the Matawa project, which will connect five remote Matawa-member First Nation communities to fast and reliable internet service and benefit more than 670 homes and institutions, including schools, airports, band offices, health offices and police stations.
The project will improve quality of life and create vibrant communities by connecting families, driving economic growth and expanding access to education and skills training.
Ontario has committed $63.3 million over five years to the Next Generation Network Program, a partnership between the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). To date, 11 projects have been launched, including:
- Carling Township (near Parry Sound)
- Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation (near Dryden)
- Iron Bridge (near Sault Ste. Marie)
- Municipality of Magnetawan (Ahmic Harbour)
- Municipality of Temagami
- Dawn-Euphemia Township (close to Sarnia)
- Halton Region
- Township of Alnwick/Haldimand (near Cobourg)
- Holland Marsh
- City of Kenora – Northern Lake Region
- Nipissing First Nation
Projects include bringing high-performance high-speed internet access to 200 homes in Parry Sound and Carling Township, and the introduction of high speed, reliable internet services to the communities of Dawn-Euphemia township. More projects are planned in the future.
These innovative projects demonstrate and validate new technology solutions that can be applied in other rural and Northern Ontario communities.
Ontario’s public libraries are important parts of our communities. We are investing more than $4.8 million to upgrade internet at public libraries in areas of need.
Ontario is helping to ensure the province has access to the best next-generation technologies. The province has committed $66.7 million over five years to build the world’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless network for open innovation through the Evolution of Networked Services through the Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation (ENCQOR) initiative.
This will help us develop the 5G applications of the future.
Education Broadband Modernization Program
Ontario’s schools need strong high-speed internet capacity to support a modern education system. Ontario is working to deliver sustainable, modernized networks with improved internet access to students in schools across the province.
With fast, reliable internet, students can access materials, connect with experts and collaborate on projects worldwide.
As of December 31, 2020, high-speed internet modernization is complete at more than 3,144 schools and is in progress at approximately 1,793 others. By accelerating the delivery of high-speed internet modernization in school boards, the province is currently on track to have access in every school in Ontario by the 2021-2022 school year, including rural and Northern communities.
Learn at home provides quick and easy access to some of Ontario’s best online Kindergarten to Grade 12 resources, as well as additional high-quality resources from Canada and beyond. These resources support independent learning without the normal facilitation of a teacher.
TVO Learn and TFO’s IDÉLLO, apprendre à la maison support students who are self-screening, quarantining at home. They also support students wishing to build their skills by accessing additional educational resources developed by Ontario certified teachers who are directly aligned to the Grades 1 to 8 Ontario curriculum. These resources can be used on their own, or to support learning activities provided by classroom teachers.
TVO’s Independent Learning Centre (ILC) Open House provides access to 144 Grade 9 to 12 courses. These ILC resources are not for credit but are designed to provide flexible learning opportunities to help students keep up with their learning or deepen their understanding of a specific subject.
Online learning can help students learn to harness technology to their benefit and develop into lifelong learners.
Ontario is committed to modernizing the delivery of online learning courses to increase student access to high-quality public education and position Ontario as a global leader in online learning.
As of July 21, 2020, changes were made to enable the Ministry of Education to expand the mandates of TVO and TFO to take on a central leadership role in supporting online learning in the publicly-funded school system. This will give secondary students more choice in high-quality online learning courses — no matter where they live or go to school.
The province recognizes that access to technology is more important now than ever as students prepare for a new environment which could include both at home and in-person learning.
Ontario is providing $15 million to secure up to 35,000 classroom computers. This new technology will help ensure students who face difficulty accessing technology are able to leverage these tools to succeed in the 2020-21 school year.
As of February 2021, we provided an additional $381 million, through the federal Safe Return to Class Fund, to keep schools safe from COVID‑19. This includes $80 million to support the purchase of additional devices such as laptops and tablets. It is anticipated that this funding will support school boards in procuring about 160,000 devices provincewide.
We encourage educators, parents and students to connect with their school boards to find out which resources and services are available in their communities.
Ontario has undergone an unprecedented shift in the postsecondary sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to high-quality virtual learning for postsecondary students has become even more critical.
The province’s Virtual Learning Strategy:
- emphasizes the importance of accessible and sustainable growth in virtual learning
- supports Ontario’s efforts to grow our digital footprint
- builds the skilled workforce that will support Ontario’s economy
To support this strategy, Ontario is investing $50 million in virtual learning and educational technologies to help expand access to high-quality, market-responsive and globally competitive virtual education.
Funded by the province, Contact North helps improve access to virtual learning for Ontarians living in underserved rural, Northern, Indigenous and Francophone communities that lack high-speed internet connectivity or direct physical access to educational or training opportunities.
Contact North’s services are provided at no cost to learners and are available in English and French.
eCampusOntario is funded by the Government of Ontario to drive excellence in online and technology-enabled learning in the postsecondary sector. All publicly-assisted colleges and universities and one Indigenous Institute in Ontario are members of this organization. Through collaboration, eCampusOntario builds Ontario’s capacity to deliver high-quality, cost-effective online learning opportunities across the postsecondary system, including by helping to implement Ontario’s Virtual Learning Strategy.