Expanding broadband access is a digital infrastructure priority of governments across the country

There are also many broadband initiatives at the provincial level, many of them in partnership with the federal government.

The Ontario Connects program aims to connect all regions to high-speed internet by 2026. Last summer, the province’s announcement said the nearly $4 billion plan was “the largest single investment in internet high speed, in every province, by every government in Canadian history. According to the province, more than 700,000 Ontarians do not have high-speed or Internet access.

Ontario Connects operates a procurement process whereby ISPs bid for provincial subsidies through reverse auctions. The program awards funding to the entity that can carry out the least expensive project. Ontario’s program also includes collaboration with the federal government. Last July, the two parties announced they would share a $1.2 billion investment to bring high-speed internet to approximately 280,000 rural Ontario households, which the province says will move them forward. 40% towards their 100% connectivity goal.

In Ontario, some of those most in need of broadband connectivity are First Nations in the north of the province, says Nicpon, who before joining McCarthy Tétrault was director of policy for the Minister of ‘Ontario Infrastructure. “Both the provincial government and the federal government, in all of their policy decisions, pay attention to how the decisions they make will affect First Nations communities…Certainly there will be an emphasis in the program on connecting these communities.

In February, Newfoundland and Labrador announced it would receive $116 million from the Universal Broadband Fund and use $20 million of its own money to connect all remaining unconnected households in the province to high-speed internet.

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