Feds Tout High-Speed Internet for All Canadians Ahead of Schedule
The federal government announced today an optimistic projection for high-speed Internet access across the country, touting it is on track to exceed its connectivity targets.
By 2026, 98.6% of Canadian households are expected to have high-speed Internet, a significant rise from 79% in 2014, said Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Thursday.
The advancement in connectivity is credited to the $3.225 billion Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) and collaborative federal and provincial investments. This year marked substantial progress, with 45 projects announced to connect over 200,000 households, and 40,000 households gaining new access through completed UBF projects.
June 2023 saw the launch of an interactive website (canada.ca/rural) offering resources and information on government programs, including the UBF, to rural Canadians.
The federal government has also formed co-funding partnerships with several provinces, including Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island, securing over $2 billion in provincial co-funding.
Notably, Quebec, with federal-provincial co-funding of $920 million under Canada–Quebec Operation High Speed, has already achieved the goal of offering high-speed Internet access to all its residents.
The impact of these advancements is making a real different on lives, says ISED. In the Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation, also known as Shoal Lake No. 39 First Nation, improved access to reliable high-speed Internet has enabled residents to utilize telehealth services effectively.
Similarly, in Port-Menier, Quebec, high-speed Internet access has revitalized the tourism industry, enhancing business opportunities and connectivity for visitors.
Since 2015, the federal government says it has allocated more than $7.6 billion to enhance connectivity across Canada, to bring high-speed internet to rural areas.
“High-speed Internet is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. 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,” said Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development in a statement.
The High-Speed Internet Access Dashboard, updated quarterly, reflects the national progress and government funding by province and territory, while the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map serves as an interactive tool for Canadians to locate Internet service providers and ongoing connectivity projects in their vicinity.