Backgrounder Article from  Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Connect to Innovate Program

In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada put forward a vision to build Canada as a global centre for innovation—one that focuses on strengthening the middle class by creating jobs, driving growth across all industries and improving the lives of all Canadians.

The Connect to Innovate program will invest up to $500 million by 2021 to help realize this vision and aim to ensure that 300 rural and remote communities in Canada are better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.

Following extensive consultations with stakeholders and Internet service providers, the Connect to Innovate program was developed to meet the needs of Canadian small businesses, communities and families in rural and remote areas. The program will also support the unique connectivity challenges faced by northern communities, most of which are Indigenous.

Canadians need access to high-speed Internet to fully participate in our economy, democracy and way of life. In many rural and remote communities, challenging geography and smaller populations present barriers to private sector investment in building and maintaining high-speed Internet infrastructure.

Connect to Innovate is primarily focused on the construction of new backbone infrastructure (backbone networks are digital highways that move large amounts of data in and out of communities at high speeds) to connect institutions like schools, hospitals, First Nation band offices and libraries, as well as to improve residential, business and mobile services. A portion of the program's funding will include backbone upgrades, as well as last-mile infrastructure, to bring Internet access to households and businesses that do not have speeds of at least 5 megabits per second (Mbps).

Additional backbone capacity could provide users with access to speeds well above 5 Mbps. Communities using new backbone infrastructure will see a transformative change in the speeds and services they can access.

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Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Economics and Industry

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