The Ontario and federal governments are investing a combined $45 million for high-speed internet access and upgrades across Northumberland County by the end of 2024, the area’s MPP announced Friday.
In the hamlet of Codrington, Northumberland—Peterborough South Conservative MPP David Piccini announced the province’s share of $20 million in the project to deliver high-speed internet access to all household and businesses across the county. The project is also in partnership with the county and private sector.
“In this day and age, a quick and reliable internet connection isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” stated Piccini. “I’m thrilled that our government is investing $20 million, getting it done for Northumberland by delivering better and faster internet for everyone in our community.”
Piccini says the county has worked on creating a private sector-led utility that will design and build a local fibre optics telecommunications network to address the hilly geographical challenges in the county.
The utility will eventually provide an open, wholesale access to this network to internet service providers (ISPs). The ISPs will use the network to deliver high-speed internet services, aiming to deliver a minimum internet speed of one gigabit per second.
Northumberland County Warden Bob Crate says closing the gaps in internet connectivity is a priority for all levels of government. High-speed internet was identified as a key need as part of a COVID-19 economic recovery task force in the county.
Of the approximately 40,000 homes in the county, roughly 13,500 homes are considered underserved for connectivity.
“Northumberland County is therefore proud to be introducing an innovative approach to expand high-speed internet across our community by the end of 2024,” he said. “We thank the provincial and federal governments for the significant investments announced today, which will make the initiative possible. We look forward to working with our public- and private-sector partners to improve local connectivity.”
The funding builds upon the July 29, 2021, partnership the federal and provincial governments announced to support large-scale, fibre-based projects to more than 280,000 rural and remote households across the province.
In November 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced the government was committing nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband internet and cellular access across the province.