Ontario puts $109M into Ottawa-based Telesat for province-wide high-speed internet

President and CEO of Telesat Dan Goldberg takes part in a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. The company will receive $109 million in a deal with the Ontario government to help provide high-speed internet to remote communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Ontario government is partnering with Ottawa-based Telesat on a deal that will see the company build out a network of satellites expected to deliver high-speed internet to remote communities.

The five-year agreement, valued at $109 million, will see Ontario reap the benefits of the company’s low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite network, dubbed Telesat Lightspeed.

The company will make its internet capacity pool available at reduced rates to Canadian internet service providers in the province, expanding high-speed broadband connectivity to remote and underserved communities in Ontario.

Read more: $1.8 billion satellite project in Quebec expected to create 600 jobs

The Ontario government says the LEO network will allow operators to offer affordable broadband plans to consumers and lay the groundwork for the eventual rollout of 5G networks in the province.

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Telesat says it will use the cash injection to add nearly 400 jobs across the province, growing its headcount by nearly 35 per cent. It will also invest the capital in an expansion of its Ottawa headquarters and new equipment at its teleport in Hanover, Ont.

In the past year, Telesat has struck similar deals with Quebec and the federal government to provide connectivity through its LEO network to remote, northern and Indigenous communities across the country.

Telesat’s deal with Ontario is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

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