The governments of Canada and Quebec are announcing a joint investment of $94 million to support projects led primarily by co-operatives, non-profit organizations and local businesses. This investment will enable over 18,200 additional households to access high-speed Internet services by September 2022.
The announcement was made today by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (high-speed Internet); and Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs. Also present for this announcement were Jacques Demers, President of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités and Reeve of the Memphrémagog RCM; Kameron Lahache, Director of Operations at First Nations Wireless, and Michel Bertrand, President of the Coopérative de solidarité du Suroît (CSUR), two of the Internet service providers involved in projects funded under Phase II of Operation High Speed.
“First Nations Wireless is honoured and proud to participate in Phase II of Operation High Speed, which will provide the Kahnawake community with critical high-speed Internet access. During the pandemic, Internet use has changed radically within our community. Connecting our families, workers, students and businesses has always been our prime motivation and the driving force behind our innovation effort. We’ll have these key principles in mind when building our fibre optic network, which should be completed in September 2022. A new digital era is on the horizon, and we’re certain that this project will strengthen our community, our culture and our identity through connectivity,” said Kameron Lahache, Director of Operations, First Nations Wireless
Co-operating with telecommunications companies and organizations, adding a deadline with penalties to new contracts and providing coverage for all homes in the region where projects are being undertaken will ensure quick and effective deployment.
- Canada–Quebec Operation High Speed will give Quebec the highest connectivity rate in Canada, at more than 99%.
- The Government of Canada has allocated billions of dollars to Internet infrastructure in rural and remote regions, including $2.75 billion as part of the Universal Broadband Fund, of which $1 billion comes from Budget 2021.
- To date, the Government of Quebec has invested more than $1 billion to accelerate high-speed Internet connectivity for all Quebecers by fall 2022.
- Phase II of Operation High Speed provides for an investment of $94 million to support deployment projects by the Coopérative de solidarité du Suroît (CSUR), the Table d’action en communication et technologies de l’information de la MRC de Coaticook (TACTIC), First Nations Wireless, Développement Innovations Haut-Richelieu (IHR Télécom), Xplornet, Bell, Cooptel and the Association pour la télédistribution et radio La Minerve, as well as those of the Antoine-Labelle, Argenteuil, D’Autray, Matawinie and Montcalm RCMs.
- The 18,200 households that will be connected under Phase II are in addition to the 150,000 households covered in the March 2021 announcement and the approximately 66,000 households already covered under other government programs.
- To reach the goal of optimal connectivity in all the regions by 2022, approximately 18,200 households, for which no projects are planned, will still need to be connected. These households are in areas that are particularly difficult to reach and sparsely populated. Technological solutions are currently being considered, and the strategy chosen to reach these households by 2022 will be announced at a later date.