New Broadband Strategy Announced for Rural Canada
The Federal Minister of Rural Economic Development, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, has released “High Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy.” It outlines the Federal Government’s plan to ensure all Canadian households have access to high speed, affordable and reliable broadband by 2030.
This Connectivity Strategy was released alongside a new federal rural economic development plan, namely “Rural Opportunity, National Prosperity: An Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada.”
AMO welcomes the federal government’s strategy to close the rural broadband gap and create universal internet access for all Canadians. The strategy also aims to improve mobile cellular access across the country.
The ‘High-Speed Access for All’ strategy follows sustained advocacy from municipal governments, FCM, AMO, ROMA, and rural + northern communities across Canada. In Budget 2019, the federal government committed $1.7 billion in new funding for broadband infrastructure as well as other measures to increase internet access for rural and northern Canadians. As part of the strategy, the federal government will reduce administrative burden for potential partners by aligning application requirements and providing guidance on how to access funding. It has also committed to sharing broadband data with key partners such as municipal governments.
In Ontario, the provincial government has committed $315 million over 5 years to improve access to reliable broadband and cellular connectivity. Ontario has also promised its own Broadband and Cellular Strategy for release later this year.
AMO will continue to work with FCM, ROMA and municipal governments to advance access to broadband in all of our communities. Lack of connectivity has held rural and northern Ontario back for too long.