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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ontario will spend up to $14.7 million for 13 new projects under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program. These projects will bring reliable, high-speed internet to 42 communities across the province.
Ontario’s ICON investment will help expand high-speed internet to more areas, from Belleville to Bancroft, Muskoka Lakes to Puslinch, and Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls to Moose Cree First Nation. Ontario is partnering financially on these projects with various organizations who applied for provincial funding under the ICON program.
“Our government continues to bring high-speed internet access across the province, including to several remote and First Nation communities,” said infrastructure minister Kinga Surma. “This investment will connect over 17,000 homes and businesses with access to reliable, high-speed internet. We’re doing everything we can to help ensure no one is left behind in today’s digital world.”
These projects will help Ontario move forward in its plan to achieve 100 per cent connectivity after committing nearly $4 billion to ensure all Ontarians have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. This is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
“In Opposition and since Day One in government, I have pushed for high speed internet in our communities and the pandemic has emphasized this requirement,” said Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Member of Provincial Parliament for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “Ontario is now leading the way, committing significant funds, like this up to $5.4 million investment in Athens, Mallorytown, and surrounding communities, to connect an additional 5,254 homes. There’s more to be done, and the good news for our riding is that we’re continuing to accelerate these projects.”
“Today’s announcement builds on Ontario’s historic $4 billion investment in broadband to connect all Ontarians to reliable, high-speed internet by the end of 2025,” said Graydon Smith, president, Association of Municipalities of Ontario and mayor of the Town of Bracebridge. “These investments will underpin Ontario’s competitiveness and prosperity and improve access to economic opportunity in every part of Ontario.”
High-speed internet is critical for access to vital services like health care, education, employment and justice, while increasing opportunity for everyone. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government’s record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.