Trudeau adds $750 million to Universal Broadband Fund to connect more Canadians with high-speed internet

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a press conference during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Ontario, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press

Justin Trudeau announced an additional $750 million of funding to the Universal Broadband Fund to help connect Canadians to high-speed internet across the country.

The investment aims to connect 98 per cent of Canadians by 2026, with a goal to connect 100 per cent by 2030, a press release said. 

The additional fund will top up the $1 billion announced in last year’s budget, it said, adding that this will “help advance projects with partners, like the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).”

The government announced an additional $1 billion through the CIB in October to help fund projects that will connect Canadians. Experts have said that with so many different funding streams to connect Canadians, the government will have a challenging time coordinating between different departments to roll out funding for projects. 

Today’s funds include $150 million Rapid Response Stream, with an accelerated application process to allow “shovel-ready projects to get started right away.”

Since 2016, the government has announced various funds to help connect more Canadians to broadband services. This includes the $585 million Connect to Innovate program administered through the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Ministry; and $2 billion that would be brought in through private investment announced in the 2019 budget.

The CRTC also announced its own $750M Broadband Fund in late 2016.

In the 2019 budget, the government pledged to connect 100 per cent of Canadians to broadband internet services by 2030.

More to come

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