|The Ontario government is introducing legislation to help bring reliable high-speed internet to underserved and unserved communities sooner. If passed, the changes would remove barriers, duplication and delays, making it easier and faster to build high-speed internet infrastructure across the province. |
“By taking this leap, our government is helping to accelerate the deployment of high-speed internet, providing people with the digital services they need and deserve,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “The Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022, if passed, would help meet our government’s commitment to connect every community with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. We’re building Ontario faster and strengthening our communities while laying the foundation for long-term economic growth.”
Ontario is investing $900 million in more than 180 broadband, cellular and satellite projects across the province. The Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022 would provide the tools and assurances that internet service providers need to get shovels in the ground as early as this summer.
The new legislation would also improve Ontario One Call’s processes of determining the location of underground infrastructure like telecommunications lines, water mains and gas pipelines, known as locates. Instead of everyone using their own locate process, they would be able to have the work done by one person in some situations, reducing duplication. This is expected to significantly reduce waiting periods for internet service providers, strengthen safety for workers, and improve the accuracy of results, leading to accelerated construction of broadband infrastructure across Ontario.
“It often takes businesses and builders too long to start construction because of how complicated it is to get information about underground infrastructure,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “These are costly delays to building critical high-speed internet projects and housing developments that we can’t afford, which is why we’re accelerating how quickly workers can get shovels in the ground.”
“Ontarians expect and deserve reliable internet service wherever they live, learn or do business,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “By removing barriers to high-speed internet expansion, more Ontarians will be able to access public services, such as health care and education, operate businesses and access employment opportunities.”
The legislation builds on the progress the government has already made as part of its plan to get Ontario connected, including an investment of nearly $4 billion to provide people and businesses across the province with access to reliable high-speed internet. The province also took action to help speed up construction of projects through the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 and the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021.
Today’s introduction of legislation would help expand access to digital health care services, as well as ensuring that everyone in Ontario can work, learn, start a business, participate in the agricultural sector and connect with family and friends.