Ontario announces it will be investing almost $1B to expand and improve broadband and cell service

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Ontario has announced it will be investing almost $1B to expand and improve broadband and cellular connections.

The money will be spent over six years across the province for shovel-ready projects starting immediately.

The $680 million announced today is on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. 

The investment announced today doubles funding for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program, bringing the new total to $300 million. 

This program now has the potential to leverage more than $900 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in areas of need across Ontario. 

Over 1.4 million people in Ontario do not have broadband or cellular access, and as many as 12 per cent of households in Ontario, mostly in rural, remote or Northern areas, are undeserved or unserved from the perspective of broadband, according to the CRTC.

"Tomorrow, I'll introduce Ontario's 2020 Budget, the next phase of Ontario's Action Plan," said Minister Phillips. "The first pillar of this action plan is Protect, making good on Premier Ford's commitment to do whatever it takes to get through the pandemic. The second pillar is Support, because we know COVID-19 has brought severe challenges and economic difficulties to families and employers across the province. The third pillar is Recover and includes today's historic investment in broadband. Though initiatives like this our government is laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery and a successful future."