Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday the addition of $750 million to the Universal Broadband Fund to help connect Canadians to high-speed internet across the country. Yahoo Finance reported that the funds are topping off a $1 billion allocation announced last month. According to a press release, the investment aims to connect 98 percent of Canadians by 2026, with a goal to connect 100 percent by 2030.
“Good reliable internet isn’t a luxury. It’s a basic service, and it’s a service that every single Canadian deserves,” Trudeau said during a press conference.
Yahoo Finance reported that several funding streams would make coordination between government departments challenging. According to Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, there are “a lot of cooks in this kitchen,” so the government is launching a tracker to show progress moving forward.
Monsef added that $150 million is ready for Rapid Response Stream, a program the government will use to funnel public capital to “shovel-ready projects to get started right away. We will process those applications on an ongoing basis so that there is no delay in that process,” she said. “So if you have a good idea on how to get connected and your project is shovel readyand your communities on board, reach out to us because we’re here to help,” she said.
Since 2016, the Canadian government has been channeling funds into broadband expansion. Funds include the $585 million Connect to Innovate program, the CRTC Broadband Fund totaling $750 million, and $2 billion in private investment announced in the 2019 budget. Monday’s announcement also noted that the government reached a $600 million agreement with Canadian satellite company Telesat to improve connectivity through low-earth-orbit satellite capacity.
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