MPP Walker pleased with expansion of reliable broadband access

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker is pleased the government is taking steps to support the expansion of broadband internet services across the province.

This week, the Ontario government introduced the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 which, if passed, would help connect more communities to reliable, high-speed internet sooner. This legislation proposes to reduce costs to broadband providers associated with attaching broadband wirelines to hydro utility poles and would provide timely access to poles and to municipal rights of way to install broadband on municipal land.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all the critical importance of having reliable, broadband internet for all families,” said MPP Walker. “Our proposed legislation, if passed, would help connect individuals and families to reliable broadband across our rural communities, and get more people back to work as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As many as 700,000 households and businesses in Ontario lack access to adequate broadband speeds or have no internet connection at all. These proposed measures would help communities connect to reliable broadband sooner, so people can work from home, learn online, connect with family and friends, and access vital services.

“Now more than ever, we need to help ensure unserved and underserved communities are connected to reliable broadband,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. “By taking this step, our government is proposing to speed up Ontario’s broadband expansion, increasing our competitiveness, strengthening communities, and making life more convenient for families and individuals. The Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act would get our infrastructure working better for Ontario.”

These proposed measures build on the province’s Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. On November 4, 2020, the Ontario government announced a historic investment of almost $1 billion to improve broadband and cellular services, which is an additional $680 million on top of its previous commitment.

“All Ontarians deserve access to reliable high-speed broadband and equal opportunity to engage in our ever-growing digital economy and lifestyle,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “By reducing barriers and costs for internet providers to use existing electricity infrastructure, we are creating a path forward to deliver cost-effective and timely broadband service to communities across our vast province.”