Bell Nabs Part of $61 Million Ottawa-Ontario Plan to Expand Rural Internet

Today, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced a joint investment with Ontario government to expand rural internet in the province at the cost of over $61 million.

There will be six projects to bring high-speed internet to over 16,000 homes in 47 rural Ontario communities, along with 3 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.

Bell Canada, the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Keewaytinook Okimakanak are the recipients of the $61 million investment to expand high-speed internet.

Today’s announcement is part of the existing partnership signed between Canada and Ontario in July 2021, where a joint investment of $1.2 billion was earmarked to expand high-speed internet.

In April of last year, both governments announced an extra $56 million for six projects to expand high-speed internet to over 6,500 homes and businesses in Northern and Southwestern Ontario.

“We all know that Internet is no longer a luxury in this day and age—it’s a necessity. Having fast, reliable Internet helps rural Canadians by levelling the playing field to access essential services like health care and education, participate in the digital economy, or simply connect with loved ones. Our government will continue to work side by side with our partners to achieve our connectivity targets and ensure every Canadian, no matter where they live, has access to high-speed Internet,” said Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, in a boilerplate statement.

“Lac Seul First Nation has owned and operated its sustainable Internet service provider, with an innovative and experienced technical team, for over 10 years. K-Net is pleased to partner with Lac Seul through this project by building on its community-owned infrastructure to upgrade broadband access throughout the First Nation,” said Jesse Fiddler, Director, Keewaytinook Okimakanak.

The federal government wants to have 100% of Canadians with access to high-speed internet by 2030, while Ontario’s similar goal is by the end of 2025.

Yesterday, Ontario and the federal government also detailed a separate $48 million investment to expand high-speed internet in the province.