Canada increases Universal Broadband Fund by CAN$750 million

Nov. 9, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today an increase of CAN$750 million ($557.5 million) to the country’s Universal Broadband Fund. The new money is in addition to the CAN$1 billion invested in the fund when it was created as part of Budget 2019. Prime Minister Trudeau also announced a CAN$600 million with Canadian satellite company Telesat to fund broadband service improvements in the far north, rural, and remote regions of Canada via low-earth-orbit satellite capabilities.

The funding increase seeks to drive the availability of high-speed internet connectivity to 98% of Canadians by 2026 and all Canadians by 2030. The money will help the government, and partners such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to connect Canadian households and businesses in underserved communities over the next six years. The funding includes a CAN$150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process to allow shovel-ready projects to begin quickly. Goals include provision of 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream across the country. Several projects toward this goal already have been completed (see, for example, "Canadian government issues Connect to Innovate rural broadband contracts").

"Now more than ever, Canadians need reliable access to high-speed Internet as we work, learn, and communicate with our family and friends from home. With today's announcement, we are continuing to bring faster Internet access to every part of our country, helping businesses grow, creating new jobs, and building a better Canada for everyone," commented Prime Minister Trudeau.

"The pandemic has made the Government's commitment to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet more important than ever,” added The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank's $2 billion broadband initiative will help accelerate connectivity in Canada by developing and delivering large-scale, high-impact projects, including through a collaboration with the Universal Broadband Fund. The CIB's investments in broadband will connect more than three quarters of a million households and businesses in underserved communities, improving lives and creating good jobs."

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