The Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec, and internet service providers Vidéotron, Cogeco, Bell, Xplornet, Sogetel, and TELUS are partnering to launch the extensive Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed.
The new initiative, which will connect nearly 150,000 homes to high-speed Internet by September 2022, is made possible by investments totaling $826.3 million from the federal and provincial governments.
“Over the past year, many people have worked from home, studied from their kitchen table, shopped online, and accessed government services remotely. So it’s more important than ever that everyone has access to high-speed Internet,” said Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “We are working closely with the Quebec government to build strong communities and a more resilient future for all.”
According to a statement from the federal government, in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, when access to quality Internet service has become even more critical, it is imperative to think outside the box in order to accelerate the implementation of this service. By working with internet service providers, establishing a deadline and penalties for these new contracts, and covering 100 per cent of the homes in the project area, the government is working to ensure that the operation is completed quickly.
“We are starting a major acceleration of the rollout throughout Quebec. This is a giant leap forward towards fulfilling our commitment to connect all Quebecers by fall 2022,” said François Legault, Premier of Quebec. “The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that high-speed Internet is an essential service for distance learning, working remotely, and staying connected with our loved ones. It is absolutely essential when starting and developing a business. It’s a vital economic lever for the growth of all our regions.”
Canada-Quebec Operation High Speed will give Quebec the highest connectivity rate in Canada with a 99 per cent coverage rate. The 150,000 homes that will be connected as part of this announcement are in addition to the 66,000 homes already connected through other programs from the federal and provincial government.
“Our expertise in deploying high-speed Internet and our continued commitment to serving the regions, combined with the decision by both governments to accelerate investments in connectivity, will help bridge the digital divide between major cities and the regions,” said Philippe Jetté, president and CEO, Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc.
“Connectivity is essential to ensure digital inclusion in our society and is a powerful driver of economic and social development for our communities,” added Jetté. “We applaud the vision and collaboration between orders of government to ensure that this major, strategic project is a success for Quebec. And we are very proud to contribute to it.”
In order to reach the goal of optimal connectivity throughout the country in 2022, 36,000 households still need to be served. These households are located in particularly remote, hard-to-reach areas, with sparsely populated regions. Technological solutions are currently being considered and the strategy to reach these homes by 2022 will be announced at a later date.