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Ontario broadband projects get CAD1.2bn govt funding; Telesat launching CAD109m Ontario partnership

10 Aug 2021

Canada ’s federal government and the provincial government of Ontario have committed joint investment of over CAD1.24 billion (USD990 million) to expand high speed internet in all corners of the province by 2025, covering nearly 280,000 rural households, including: CAD148 million for northwestern Ontario (connecting 11,200 households); CAD362 million for eastern Ontario (90,000 homes); CAD252 million for southwestern Ontario (60,000 homes); CAD170 million for northeastern Ontario (39,000 homes); CAD73 million for the Golden Horseshoe region (26,000 homes); and CAD230 million for central Ontario (around 52,900 homes).

This investment is being made as part of a joint federal-provincial agreement to support large-scale, fibre-based projects. In addition, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is assessing opportunities proposed through the Universal Broadband Fund to provide additional financing on a project-by-project basis toward significant expansion of broadband in partnership with private and institutional investors.

Separately, satellite operator Telesat and the Government of Ontario announced a CAD109 million, five-year partnership to bridge the digital divide in the province by leveraging Telesat’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, Telesat Lightspeed. A press release says that the agreement will ‘futureproof and diversify Ontario’s connectivity infrastructure, lay the groundwork for continued development and commercialisation of Canadian satellite technologies and pave the way for future economic growth and jobs.’ A dedicated Telesat Lightspeed capacity pool will be made available at substantially reduced rates to ISPs and mobile operators to expand high speed internet and LTE/5G networks to unserved and underserved communities. The transaction is subject to the entering into of a further, definitive agreement which Telesat expects to execute in the coming weeks.

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