Premier unveils funding to improve rural internet, cell phone service
Published Tuesday, July 23, 2019 7:14AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 23, 2019 11:11AM EDT
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in Lucan Tuesday morning to announce a $315-million plan to bring high-speed internet and improved cell phone service to rural and remote communities.
Being called the province's first-ever plan of its kind, the goal is to connect people and open more areas to business and jobs development.
"Too many families and businesses in rural and remote communities are being left behind," Ford said in a media release.
"Open for Business has to mean Open for Everybody. Our investment will get shovels in the ground, get infrastructure built, and get people and business connected. With our plan, businesses, families and workers can count on an Ontario that will move faster than ever before."
The plan includes $150 million for a new broadband fund, to attract private sector funding and the support of federal and municipal governments, and is expected to bring in $1 billion over five years - for 220,000 new connections.
Ford was joined by Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman, and MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Monte McNaughton.
"Too many people, especially those living in rural and remote communities, do not have access to reliable internet access," Scott said in a statement.
"It means they can't work from home, stay connected to family and friends, or access public services such as health care and education. In our increasingly digital world, being disconnected means being disadvantaged. This must change."