Canada on Pace to Surpass High-Speed Internet Access Targets: Minister

Today, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Gudie Hutchings, shared an update on the federal government’s progress in connecting all Canadians to high-speed Internet.

Hutchings spotlighted the High-speed Internet Access Dashboard, an online tool that is updated quarterly, enabling Canadians to track connectivity improvements across provinces and territories.

Since 2014, high-speed Internet access has expanded from 79% to 93.5% of Canadian households, surpassing the government’s 2021 target of 90%.

Roughly 2.2 million more homes now have high-speed Internet access, thanks to investments from federal, provincial, and territorial governments, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and various Internet service providers, says Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

To accelerate connectivity targets, the federal government has entered into co-funding partnerships with Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island. These partnerships, which have secured nearly $2 billion in provincial co-funding, will enable more households to be connected through the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) financing.

Launched in November 2020, the UBF has contributed significantly to this progress. Over 260 projects and six federal-provincial funding agreements have been announced, aiming to provide affordable and reliable high-speed Internet to more than 950,000 households, including over 29,000 Indigenous households.

Under the UBF, the government is also addressing mobile connectivity gaps, allocating up to $50 million for mobile projects that primarily benefit Indigenous communities. The federal government’s partnership with British Columbia through the UBF will deliver complete mobile connectivity along B.C.’s Highway of Tears, enhancing safety for all travellers, particularly Indigenous women and girls. The government anticipates more announcements about mobile connectivity in 2023.

This year, new projects have been announced to connect over 36,000 homes in Newfoundland and Labrador, more than 16,000 homes in Ontario, and over 5,000 homes in Saskatchewan. The government remains on track to exceed its goal of providing high-speed Internet access to 98% of Canadian households by 2026 and 100% by 2030.

“We all know that Internet is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. I am proud to say that thanks to our government’s efforts, 93.5% of Canadian households currently have access to high-speed Internet, compared to just 79% in 2014. We are on track to surpass our target of providing 98% of Canadians with high-speed Internet access by 2026 and all Canadians by 2030. As Minister, I will continue to make sure that rural Canadians have the access they need to affordable high-speed Internet and mobile connectivity,” said Hutchings in a late press release on Wednesday.

Since 2015, the federal government touts it has allocated $7.6 billion to improve connectivity across Canada. The feds note they are committed to surpassing its targets, ensuring all Canadians, regardless of their location, have access to high-speed Internet as soon as possible.