by Christina Peden

Industry Canada has announced a plan to bring high-speed internet to 280,000 Canadian households currently without internet or with slower access.

The program, dubbed Connecting Canadians, will extend access to broadband internet at speeds of at least 5 Mbps to 98 percent of Canadian households, particularly under-served rural and remote communities.

The government is investing $305 million over the next three years to ensure a successful roll-out of the initiative. They will also provide incentives for the private sector to invest in wireless internet service in communities that currently do not have access to high-speed service. The Harper government claims this will help break down barriers to entrepreneurship and allow small businesses in these communities to benefit as they will more easily be able to connect to the rest of the country.

The maps on the Connecting Canadians website, which indicate the areas where high-speed internet access will be made available, were developed in consultation with everyday Canadians, ISPs, and provincial and territorial governments across the country.

"As we move toward Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, our government is proud to launch a new program that will connect 280,000 Canadian households to high-speed Internet”, said Industry Minister James Moore. “Connecting Canadians is about ensuring that Canadians, whether they live in urban centres or remote regions of the country, have access to the latest wireless technologies and high-speed networks at the most affordable prices possible."

Private sector companies will be able to submit applications this fall to be a part of the Connecting Canadians program, with the first projects expected to be announced in spring 2015.
Source: Industry Canada