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Feds and Quebec to Spend $96 Million to Expand High Speed Internet in Province

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According to a few announcements made over the past two days by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, high speed internet is set to expand in Quebec, with $96 million earmarked for the project.

As part of operation Canada–Quebec Operation High Speed, the following investments are being made:

  • $22.7 million: nearly 3,000 households in the Memphremagog region will have access to Cogeco high-speed Internet services by September 2022
  • $29 million: 2,632 households in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region will have access to Bell high-speed Internet services by September 2022
  • $45 million: over 8,000 households in the Chaudière-Appalaches region will have access to Sogetel and TELUS high-speed Internet services by September 2022

Last month, the federal and provincial government of Quebec announced close to 150,000 homes by September 2022 will see high-speed internet, at a cost of $826.3 million spent by both governments.

With SpaceX Starlink satellite internet rapidly expanding its reach for rural Canadians, one has to wonder if this would have been a more affordable alternative. Even at the cost of a Starlink hardware kit (dish and router) at $649 CAD, multiplied by the target of 150,000 homes, that works out to $97.3 million.

If we take the money set to be invested above, and divide by the total homes set to get high speed internet, we get a cost of $7,042 per home, to roll out broadband (if projects stay on budget). Of course, we’re not considering the cost of Starlink at $129 CAD per month, but the SpaceX solution seems much faster and more affordable to set up for rural Canadians, if Elon Musk’s company is able to scale the service to meet demand.

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