Ontario pilot project expands high-speed internet access in Brighton

The Ontario government has announced a pilot project to expand internet access in Brighton. The Canadian Press file

A new pilot project aims to bring high-speed internet access to an additional 1,450 homes and businesses in the Municipality of Brighton, the Ontario government announced Friday morning.

The project with Hydro One will involve existing infrastructure — such as hydro poles and a network of fibre cables from Acronym Solutions Inc. (formerly Hydro One Telecom) — to fast-track expansion of high-speed internet networks in Brighton.

The announcement was made by Northumberland-Peterborough South Conservative MPP David Piccini, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith and Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma.

“It is important for Ontarians to have access to reliable internet services,” said Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “This announcement today shows our government’s commitment to bringing high-speed internet access to our community, while using innovative ways to get this done more quickly.”

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The province aims to achieve 100 per cent connectivity after committing nearly $4 billion in 2020 to ensure all Ontarians have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. The government says it is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.

“By working with partners like Hydro One to use existing electricity infrastructure to rapidly expand high-speed internet to as many as 1,450 homes and businesses in Brighton, we are accelerating our work to connect all communities by 2025,” said Smith.

The Brighton pilot project will be evaluated as part of the government’s goal to reach 100 per cent access to connectivity by the end of 2025. If successful, the province says it could allow for the exploration of high-speed internet initiatives in other rural communities similar to Brighton.

“By leveraging existing infrastructure and removing barriers to high-speed internet expansion, more Ontarians will be able to access better and faster internet services sooner,” said Surma.

Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander says as the demand for reliable internet services grows as the municipality grows in population. Statistics Canada reports the population of Brighton was just over 12,100 in 2021, up from 11,800 in 2016.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen people migrate out of the larger urban areas with the anticipation that they will be able to work from home,” said Ostrander.  “With this announcement, Hydro One’s pilot project, will make that vision a reality and will enhance our ability to drive Brighton’s local economy forward. We are grateful to our provincial and utility partners in helping make Brighton a hub for reliable high-speed internet services.”

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