Regional Council is pursuing up to $6.6 million in federal funding to improve access to high-speed Internet in rural Niagara.
Introduced late last year, the Government of Canada’s Connect To Innovate (CTI) program will invest up to $500 million to bring broadband internet to 300 rural and remote communities across Canada. The program has identified 33 eligible locations in Niagara as potential candidates for funding.
If successful, Niagara Region’s application will result in up to $10 million of direct infrastructure investment in Niagara by 2022, divided between the federal government, Niagara Region, and the Niagara Region Broadband Network (NRBN).
This funding complements federal and provincial investments being made to invest in rural broadband Internet access through the South Western Internet Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project, of which Niagara Region is a partner. Niagara’s $1 million commitment to SWIFT leverages $14.7 million in federal, provincial and private funding. Combined with its contribution of up to $1.4 million to the CTI program, Niagara Region’s investment could bring nearly $25 million to improve high-speed Internet infrastructure to rural Niagara by 2022.
Niagara Region expects the results of its funding application to be known by late 2017.
"Improving access to reliable and affordable high-speed Internet in rural Niagara is one of Council’s strategic priorities. Leveraging funding through the Connect to Innovate program will allow us to make a direct investment in concrete, Niagara-specific infrastructure projects in the next 5 years."
~ Regional Chair Alan Caslin