Ontario is supporting an innovative project that will bring high-performance broadband access to more than 200 homes, while providing a model for low-cost expansion to surrounding communities.
Parliamentary Assistant Donna Skelly, on behalf of Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, announced the launch of the first Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Project, part of the Next Generation Network Program. The project uses a microwave link to transmit high-speed broadband from Parry Sound to Carling Township, coupled with fibre-optic technology to bring access to individual homes — an approach that promises several benefits, including:
- Lower cost — this project will save $1.2 million (or 85 per cent) on installation costs
- Services unaffected by terrain such as forests or lakes
- No need to hang cables or use poles, resulting in reduced maintenance costs
- No road or driveway repaving required.
“This exciting project takes on the challenges of getting reliable, high-performance internet to rural and remote communities,” Skelly said. “This is great news for West Parry Sound, and for all the communities that will benefit from this technology in the future.”
The Next Generation Network Program is an Ontario government program delivered through a partnership between the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. The program helps Ontario companies develop and demonstrate innovative wired and wireless technology, products and services. Other projects in the program are focused on smart mining, smart agriculture and autonomous vehicles.
“In the 21st century, access to broadband internet is essential. Businesses, families, schools and hospitals in rural and Northern communities need fast connections just as much as in cities,” said Minister Fedeli. “Our government is committed to making sure that communities everywhere in Ontario have the broadband and cellular connectivity they need and deserve.”
In July 2019, Ontario released a five-year Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, which includes a $315 million commitment to improve access to high-speed internet and cellular service for rural and remote communities.
“The importance of broadband access in rural areas cannot be overstated,” said Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller. “Parry Sound-Muskoka knows all too well how important connectivity is and how it can determine success in a myriad of ways. I am very pleased to see projects such as these come into the area.”