Elected officials across Eastern Ontario are hopeful that the Government of Ontario’s new $4-billion broadband program will help deliver Gig level speeds across the region.

The Province announced that the program, Ontario Connects, will connect every home, community and area in the province to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. The program will provide funding directly to internet service providers (ISPs), who will be selected to serve different geographic areas through a series of reverse-bid auction events.

The investment is being applauded by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, along with the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus. EORN, which has been leading improved connectivity across the rural region for more than a decade, has proposed a regional project to deliver broadband speeds of one gigabit (1G) across the region. This project would deliver ultra-fast internet to at least 95 per cent of the region, including some areas that have little service today.

EORN is currently delivering on a $300-million Cell Gap Project to improve cell service coverage and capacity. The project is jointly funded by federal and provincial governments, and Rogers Communications.

“We appreciate that the federal and provincial governments heard EORN, the EOWC and the EOMC about the urgent need for broadband expansion in our region. Public investment is critical to expanding broadband in rural areas,” said Debbie Robinson, Chair of the EOWC.

“EORN’s analysis demonstrated the economic value of connecting our communities to future-proof, Gig-speed internet and we are hopeful that Ontario Connects and federal funding 2 programs will ultimately help deliver this level of service to our communities,” said Diane Therrien, Chair of the EOMC.