With an ambitious plan to bring high-speed internet to every community across the province, Ontario is announcing an investment of up to $14.7 million for 13 new projects under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program.
These projects will bring reliable, high-speed internet to 42 communities across the province. The riding of Markham-Stouffville is receiving $477,775 to expand high-speed broadband access to over 150 households on Vivian Rd.
“Today’s announcement is great news for the people of Markham-Stouffville,” MPP Paul Calandra said. “This record investment in rural broadband will make an enormous difference for communities like ours with near-urban neighbourhoods and homes that continue to struggle for affordable and reliable high-speed internet service.”
This investment is part of the Ontario government’s $2.8 billion commitment for high-speed internet infrastructure to connect every region in Ontario to reliable, high-speed internet by the end of 2025. Combined with previous investments, this brings Ontario’s total commitment to nearly $4 billion.
This is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
“On behalf of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, I would like to express our thanks to the Federal and Provincial governments for this joint funding to bring high-speed internet access to households in rural Whitchurch-Stouffville,” Mayor Iain Lovatt said. “This is yet another step towards reaching the goal of connecting every community in Ontario to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.”
Ontario’s ICON investment will help expand high-speed internet to more areas, from Belleville to Bancroft, Muskoka Lakes to Puslinch, and Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls to Moose Cree First Nation. Ontario is partnering financially on these projects with various organizations who applied for provincial funding under the ICON program. Each project is unique and will have its own targeted completion date. However, the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program stipulates that these projects need to be completed by March 31, 2024.
“It is not often neighbours write back to you to tell you how excited they are about an email,” said Robert Lawrence, member of the Vivian Rd community. When I told my neighbours that broadband was finally approved and coming as an ICON project, they were uniformly happy, and some could not believe it after all these years of waiting. We are delighted as a community with this announcement and thank all those who brought this project to life. We look forward to its speedy conclusion and connecting to the 21st century efficiently.”
High-speed internet is critical for access to vital services like health care, education, employment and justice, while increasing opportunity for everyone. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.
Photo: Councillor Maurice Smith, Mayor Iain Lovatt, MPP Paul Calandra with local resident Robert Lawrence.