Universal Broadband Fund

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Building the New Program Together

We are developing the new Universal Broadband Fund, and we need your input. We want to hear from Canadians, Internet Service Providers and other organizations about existing services and what you need from us.

To help every Canadian access high-speed Internet at minimum speeds of 50/10 Mbps, the Government of Canada announced a new, coordinated plan: High Speed Access for All: Canada's Connectivity Strategy. Through this plan, we are delivering up to $6 billion in investments in rural broadband over the next 10 years. A key tool will be the new Universal Broadband Fund, which will support broadband projects across the country.

The Universal Broadband Fund will be designed to meet the unique needs of rural and remote communities. This is consistent with the Government's roadmap for supporting strong and resilient rural communities: Rural Opportunities, National Prosperity: An Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada. The Government is committed to strengthening rural perspectives in the design of federal policies and programs – and so we want to hear from you.

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How Canadians can help

How Internet service providers, municipalities, Indigenous organizations, communities, and other potential applicants can get involved

Is your organization considering applying for a project under the Universal Broadband Fund? Before the process is launched, submit your proposed Universal Broadband Fund project area(s) using our feedback form and we will get back to you about existing services in the area to help you refine your final proposal.

Frequently asked questions

How is the Government of Canada delivering on its goal of universal broadband access?

Working with partners, the Government is using a range of measures to deliver on Canada's Connectivity Strategy. We are mobilizing $5-$6 billion in new investments for rural broadband to achieve the goal of universal access at speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload. This plan includes:

  • Support through the Accelerated Investment Incentive to encourage greater investments in rural high-speed Internet and mobile access from the private sector;
  • Greater coordination with provinces, territories, and federal arm's-length institutions, such as the CRTC and its $750 million rural/remote broadband fund;
  • $1.7 billion for a new Universal Broadband Fund, new investments in the Connect to Innovate program, and advanced new Low Earth Orbit satellite capacity to serve the most rural and remote regions of Canada;
  • Funding for broadband is also available through Infrastructure Canada's $2 billion Rural and Northern Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program;
  • The Canada Infrastructure Bank will seek to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years, and leverage at least $2 billion in additional private sector investment to increase broadband access for Canadians.
  • The First Nation Infrastructure Fund (FNIF) provides funding to improve the quality of life and the environment for First Nation communities by addressing the long standing infrastructure gaps on reserves in eight project categories, including connectivity.

Visit Get Connected to learn more about the programs and initiatives that are bringing high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities.

What more can you tell us about Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites?

Satellites in LEO operate 36 times closer to the earth than traditional telecommunications satellites. This means they take less time to send and receive information, leading to better and faster broadband service, even in rural, remote and northern areas.

On July 24, 2019, Minister Bains announced an $85 million investment under the Strategic Innovation Fund in Canadian satellite company Telesat to build and test innovative technologies for its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Telesat's constellation will significantly improve global connectivity and expand high-speed Internet coverage to rural and remote regions throughout Canada, including the Far North.

The Minister also announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Telesat to secure broadband Internet capacity over Canada from its planned LEO satellite constellation. Under this agreement, Telesat will be able to deliver affordable high-speed broadband services from coast to coast to coast, addressing connectivity gaps in rural and remote communities.

When will the government launch the Universal Broadband Fund?

We expect to launch the Universal Broadband Fund in the coming months. We are currently seeking feedback to help inform the design and development of the Universal Broadband Fund program to bring reliable high-speed Internet access to even the most challenging to reach homes and communities in Canada. We want to hear from Canadians, Internet Service Providers and other organizations about existing services and how we can best serve your needs.

Why is the Government providing funding to bring high-speed Internet for Canadians in rural and remote communities?

During consultations on a new rural economic development strategy, Canadians living and working in rural Canada said their top priority was to improve broadband access. Broadband connectivity is an enabler of economic growth and social well-being.

The federal government recognizes that significant investments are needed over the next decade to achieve universal access to all Canadians. This is a shared responsibility that will require investment from the private sector, as well as all levels of government.

How will the Rural Economic Development Strategy make a difference in the lives of rural Canadians?

The strategy is the Government's long-term commitment to rural Canadians. It leverages the significant investments that we are making in areas like broadband, infrastructure and skills, which will bring concrete benefits to rural Canadians and unlock new economic opportunities.

Going forward, the strategy will also improve how rural perspectives are integrated in federal decision-making, and the development and implementation of federal policies, programs and initiatives.

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Do you have more questions? Contact us.

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