Annual results show that more rural communities across the country will benefit from increased connectivity
No matter where you live, access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet is essential. Connecting with loved ones, growing a business, working remotely and accessing vital services, like health care and education, require a fast, dependable Internet connection.
Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, reported on the Government of Canada’s rapid progress toward its goal of connecting all Canadians, no matter where they live, to high-speed Internet.
A year of progress
In November 2022, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, announced a $475 million top-up to the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF), bringing the program’s total funding to $3.225 billion. As a result of the UBF and other federal and provincial investments, the Government of Canada is on track to meet its goal of providing access to high-speed Internet to 98% of Canadian households by 2026 and 100% by 2030. Today, over 93.5% of Canadian households have access to high-speed Internet or are targeted to receive access through existing program commitments, compared to just 79% in 2014.
Since the launch of the UBF, 251 projects, which will serve up to 328,000 households with affordable and reliable high-speed Internet, have been announced. This includes 117 projects announced in 2022 alone. The Government of Canada looks forward to announcing more UBF projects through 2023. Projects are posted online as they are announced.
Real results, real progress
The Rapid Response Stream (RRS) was developed to fund shovel-ready projects that could connect households quickly. Today, RRS projects are offering service to 83,000 households across the country, including up to 9,000 Indigenous households.
The Government of Canada has also entered into co-funding partnerships with Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island to connect up to 823,000 households in those provinces. With nearly $2 billion in provincial co-funding secured, these partnerships allow for more households to be connected with UBF funding, which helps deliver the national connectivity targets faster.
Many provinces have made significant progress toward achieving universal connectivity already. With a total of $920 million in federal-provincial co-funding under Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed, Quebec has achieved our common goal of offering high-speed Internet access to all residents in the province. Many other provinces, including Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, are also very close to achieving universal connectivity. The Government of Canada is working hard with all provinces and territories to get remaining underserved households connected.
Investments under the UBF are producing tangible results for Canadians. In Sylvan Lake, Alberta, residents are already experiencing the benefits of a fast, stable Internet connection. Members of the community reported significant improvements in their day-to-day lives. Thanks to their new high-speed Internet service, a husband and wife brokerage team are now able to work from home instead of exclusively at the office. This increased productivity and flexibility has meant they are consistently placed among the top brokers in their firm across the country. In Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario, the Starlink terminals purchased with RRS funding have already connected the local health authority, the band office, the school, the community centre, the nursing station and the police headquarters to high-speed Internet. This connectivity helped the health authority keep the upper hand during the COVID-19 pandemic through telehealth and online learning.
In November 2022, the government launched an interactive High-Speed Internet Access Dashboard to provide Canadians with the latest information on the government’s progress toward achieving universal high-speed Internet access. The dashboard allows Canadians to track national progress and government funding by province and territory.
The work continues
Since 2015, the federal government has allocated more than $7.6 billion toward improving connectivity across Canada. These investments will ensure that rural communities’ ability to benefit from important services is no longer limited because of a lack of high-speed Internet access. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and Internet service providers so that all Canadians, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed Internet as soon as possible.