The Ontario government is taking the next step to help bring high-speed internet access to every community by the end of 2025, with the announcement it has launched a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) as part of a new competitive bidding process to connect more than 300,000 homes and businesses in unserved and underserved areas.
Under the new and innovative procurement process, qualified internet service providers (ISP) will later bid – through a series of reverse auctions in defined geographic areas – for opportunities to provide connectivity across Ontario.
“Our government is bringing access to high-speed internet to every home and business across Ontario,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “By taking this next step, we are closer to ensuring that no one is left behind when it comes to participating in this digital world. We’re saying that no matter where you live, you will have access to reliable, high-speed internet to work, learn, start a business, access vital services like health care, and connect with family and friends.”
The new procurement process, led by Infrastructure Ontario, builds on the province’s recently announced investment of up to $14.7 million for 13 new projects under its Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program. This investment is providing up to 17,000 homes and businesses with access to reliable high-speed internet. It also builds on a range of other previously announced provincial initiatives that will connect another 70,000 homes and businesses throughout Southwestern and Northern Ontario.
“Infrastructure Ontario is excited to be launching this innovative new competitive bidding process,” said Michael Lindsay, President and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario. “These past 18 months of working, learning and receiving care from home have shown the value and importance of achieving high-speed connectivity for every region in Ontario. This program will help more than 300,000 homes and businesses across the province gain access to this connectivity.”
Ontario is now one of the few jurisdictions in Canada with its own comprehensive and proactive plan to achieve 100 per cent connectivity. In the coming months, the government plans to announce the results of the reverse auctions, along with additional details on how it will help ensure every region in Ontario has access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.