Province announces millions in broadband Internet funding

Networking cables and circuit boards are shown in Toronto, on Nov. 8, 2017. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The province is putting up $680 million to expand broadband Internet access across Ontario, including in Leeds and Grenville. 

The funding is included in Thursday's provincial budget and the announcement was made on Tuesday. 

The province said that the new cash doubles their investment for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program, which aims to improve Internet access in areas of need. 

Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark, who is also Municipal Affairs Minister, said the Brockville-area will benefit from the investment.

"One of the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is the need for our rural communities to have access to faster, more reliable broadband to work, attract new investment and jobs, help our businesses market their products to online customers across the globe, allow our children to learn and keep us connected to the digital world," Clark said in a news release. 

"I am so proud that our government continues to make these critical investments and at historic amounts to deliver on the commitments I've made to improve the connectivity for the residents of Leeds and Grenville."

Premier Doug Ford said the money will help the more than 1.4 million Ontarians who don't have access to Internet or cellphone signals and the 12 per cent of households that struggle with weak broadband.