Connect to Innovate Awards $37.1M to Improve Rural Canada’s Internet

Connect to Innovate Aids 5 Northern Ontario Communities

The Government of Canada announced it will provide up to $37.1 million in grants to help improve high-speed internet access in five northern Ontario communities. Canadian government funding will offset the cost of installing approximately 880 kilometres of fibre-optic cables.

The investment will be provided through the Connect to Innovate program, which provides federal funding to help rural and remote communities improve their broadband internet access. Municipalities can access up to 50-90% coverage of project costs to help municipalities establishing or upgrading their internet infrastructure.

This contribution will help five First Nations communities in norther Ontario, including​ Eabametoong, Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Webequie, and Marten Falls. These upgrades will allow these communities to improve day-to-day operations, access to information, and residents’ quality of life.

Over $37M in Connect to Innovate Awarded to First Nations Communities

First Nations communities in northern Ontario will soon have greater access to high-speed internet after benefitting from a $37.1 million investment provided by the Connect to Innovate program. Fibre-optic cable will be installed from Wunnumin Lake through the five Matawa-member communities, including Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Marten Falls, and Webequie.

In total, the project will receive up to $69.2 million in Canadian federal and provincial government grants. The Government of Canada has committed an additional $2.1 million in funding through the First Nation Infrastructure Fund and the Government of Ontario will provide up to $30 million to support the installation of buried cables.

The contributions will be provided to Rapid Lynx Telecommunications to support the installation of 880 kilometres of modern fibre-optic cables. Approximately 3,200 residents will benefit from these upgrades.

“Our First Nation community members will benefit in so many ways. Connectivity is crucial to their well-being.  Better services through broadband fibre-optic construction will eliminate the digital divide between our First Nations and the rest of the world.”
– David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of the Matawa First Nations Management

Connect to Innovate: Improving Internet Access Across Canada

The Government of Canada has made it a priority throughout 2017 to increase Canadian households’ access to basic broadband Internet services. To do so, the federal government introduced the Connect to Innovate program, which provides funding to improve internet access in northern and rural communities. Broadband access grants focus on supporting the development of backbone connections, including fibre-optic, satellite, and microwave-based Internet infrastructure.

The program provides up to 50-90% coverage of project costs to help municipalities establishing or upgrading their broadband infrastructure.

Please Note: At this time, the Connect to Innovate program is no longer accepting applications.

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