Industry Canada

Industry Canada

November 05, 2014 09:05 ET

Strengthening Canada's Digital Economy and Increasing High-Speed Internet Access

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - Industry Canada

Canadians live in an increasingly digital world where access to high-speed Internet means access to e-commerce, video streaming, employment and distance education. While high-speed Internet delivered on the latest wireless technologies is an important part of everyday life in urban centres, some Canadians in rural and northern regions of the country still do not have access to high-speed Internet.

Today, Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, spoke at the fourth annual Canadian ISP Summit in Toronto about the government's plan for the digital economy. The Harper Government's Connecting Canadians program will bring high-speed Internet access to an additional 280,000 homes in rural and remote regions of the country, helping ensure Canadians in all parts of the country have access to the opportunities of a modern digital age.

Through the Connecting Canadians program, the government is working with Internet service providers to extend and enhance service to areas in need across the country. Connecting Canadians provides incentives for the private sector to build and extend digital infrastructure in rural areas of the country.

For Canadians who live in communities with slow or no Internet, access to high-speed broadband will lead to new economic opportunities and the creation of new jobs, products and services.

Quick facts

  • Connecting Canadians delivers on the government's commitment in Economic Action Plan 2014 to bring high-speed Internet to an additional 280,000 Canadian households in rural and remote regions of the country.

  • On October 15, 2014, the application period opened for Internet service providers (ISP) to participate in the Connecting Canadians program. Successful applicants can receive up to 50 percent of eligible project costs from Connecting Canadians. For projects serving very remote or Aboriginal communities, the program could fund up to 75 percent of eligible costs. For all projects, the Government of Canada will determine the amount of the contribution by assessing how much is needed to successfully complete the proposed project.

  • Successful ISPs will be expected to provide services at speeds of at least 5 megabits per second to Canadians in rural areas of the country that currently have slower access and 3 to 5 megabits per second in the satellite-dependent communities served under the northern component of the program.

  • The closing date for applications is January 12, 2015.

  • The first projects are expected to be announced in spring 2015.

Quotes

"The call for applications under Connecting Canadians marks an important phase in our plan to bring the benefits of high-speed Internet to more than a quarter-million Canadian households, some for the first time. Providing Canadians with access to broadband Internet for learning, business opportunities and so much more is key to a more connected digital Canada. I encourage ISPs to consider this program, to extend services and to create new opportunities for Canadians."

- Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

"Our members and attendees are excited by the prospect of introducing our services to unserved and underserved parts of Canada. We welcome this initiative and look forward to partnering with the Government of Canada to bring creative and innovative Internet solutions to even more Canadians."

- Bill Sandiford, President of the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, Canadian ISP Summit Organizer

Related product

  • Backgrounder: Connecting Canadians

Associated links

- Digital Canada 150 website

- Connecting Canadians website

- Link to application guide and toolkit

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

BACKGROUNDER

Connecting Canadians

Launched on July 22, 2014, the Connecting Canadians program is a key component of Digital Canada 150, the Government of Canada's plan to help guide our country's digital future.

Through Connecting Canadians, the Government will invest up to $305 million to address gaps in the delivery of high-speed Internet at speeds of at least 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to households in rural and remote areas across the country. The program also includes $50 million for a dedicated northern component targeting remote, satellite-dependent communities in Nunavut and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, which was announced by Prime Minister Harper on August 25, 2014.

On October 15, 2014, Connecting Canadians began accepting applications from eligible Internet service providers (ISP). To help applicants identify areas with slower or no access in which to undertake projects to extend or enhance broadband coverage, Industry Canada has published updated Internet coverage maps on the Connecting Canadians website following an extensive mapping consultation with Canadians, ISPs, and provincial and territorial governments.

Until January 12, 2015, eligible ISPs can submit proposals for projects to extend or enhance Internet service to households that do not currently have access to high-speed Internet at 5 Mbps. The Connecting Canadians website provides an application toolkit to assist interested ISPs in completing the application process.

After the January 12, 2015, deadline for applications, projects will undergo a two-stage review process. The first stage will screen projects for eligibility, with successful projects proceeding to a more detailed assessment stage. Projects selected will best meet the objectives of the program. The Application Form, which is part of the toolkit, is designed to collect the information needed to evaluate projects against both the screening and assessment criteria. Detailed application requirements can be found in the Application Guidelines.

Conditionally approved projects will likely be announced in spring 2015. Following a final due diligence phase, contribution agreements with ISPs will be negotiated.

Projects may begin once agreements are signed, which could be as early as summer 2015. If required, a second call for applications may follow in winter 2015. Completion of projects on a timely basis is encouraged. All projects under the rural component of the program must be completed by March 31, 2019. For projects under the northern component, a solution must be in place by March 31, 2016, before current satellite leases expire.

For more information on the program, please visit the Connecting Canadians website.

Contact Information

  • Jake Enwright
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Industry
    613-995-9001

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada
    613-943-2502
    media-relations@ic.gc.ca