The Ontario government yesterday (4 August 2022) issued funding contracts worth CAD1.25 billion (USD975 million) to eight ISPs to expand high speed fixed broadband internet access to 266,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses in 339 municipalities across the Canadian province by end-2025. The project forms part of the near-CAD4 billion ‘Ontario Connects’ programme which aims to achieve 100% high speed internet access in the province by end-2025. The providers for the latest rollouts were selected through a two-stage competitive process overseen by Infrastructure Ontario which began in summer 2021. Funding was issued as follows:
Bell Canada: provincial funding of CAD483.8 million for coverage of 82,632 premises
Xplornet Communications: CAD240 million for 54,679 premises
Rogers Communications: CAD171 million for 89,295 premises
Community Network Partners: CAD150.2 million for 9,397 premises
Eastlink (Bragg Communications): CAD69 million for 9,507 premises
Cogeco Connexion: CAD74.3 million for 13,856 premises
North Frontenac Telephone Company: CAD39.5 million for 3,682 premises
Eh!tel Networks: CAD24.7 million for 3,265 premises.
The highest-value contract winner, Bell Canada, noted in a separate press release that the 82,000-plus premises covered by its new provincial government funding would be served with ‘up to 3Gbps’ fibre connections, whilst announcing that Bell will additionally self-fund fibre deployment to another 37,000 homes and businesses in the vicinity of this rollout. The second-placed contractor in monetary terms, Xplornet, announced that the 98 rural municipalities covered by its new funding in eastern, central and southwestern Ontario would receive either fibre broadband (71 municipalities) or ‘fibre-powered 5G wireless broadband’ (27 municipalities), while indicating that adjacent areas could also benefit from its 5G services. Note that ISPs refer to the Ontario Connects rollout scheme as the Accelerated High Speed Internet Programme (AHSIP).