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 for Renfrew County. 

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

Municipal Affairs Minister and PC MPP Steve Clark said the new cash doubles the investment for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program, which aims to improve Internet access in areas of need. 

"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. 

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.