The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) welcomes the federal government’s launch today of the Universal Broadband Fund—a critical step in the delivery of better broadband access to communities across the country. The expanded fund announced today, with $1.75 billion dedicated to bringing reliable high-speed internet to every Canadian and a new Rapid Response Stream, is a major win for rural, remote and Northern communities.
“Today’s announcement launching the Universal Broadband Fund with significant additional funding and a new Rapid Response Stream directly responds to FCM’s advocacy,” said FCM President Garth Frizzell. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted how urgently Canada’s digital divide must be closed, and today’s progress is the result of tireless efforts from rural and Northern municipal leaders, who have been working together for years to advance this goal. Investing in bringing reliable internet to smaller communities also recognizes their importance to our economy and our future. It will offer much-needed support to these municipalities who work day-in, day-out, to tackle the challenges brought about by COVID-19, and help them get ready to drive Canada’s recovery.”
Today’s announcement, combined with the $2 billion investment provided through the Canada Infrastructure Bank and other federal investments, proves the federal government is listening to the priorities of rural Canada and is taking a tangible and important step to build on the commitments outlined in the last Speech from the Throne. FCM is ready to work with its federal partners to ensure that funding gets to communities as quickly as possible. Better broadband access, including the Universal Broadband Fund, should be a key piece of recovery efforts.
“It’s time for rural municipalities across the country to have reliable Internet access,” said Ray Orb, FCM’s Rural Forum Chair. “This is about making sure local businesses have the tools they need to succeed and that families can access quality healthcare and education. Entire communities rely on internet to connect and grow, we need to get to work on bridging Canada’s connectivity gap.”
For more information: FCM Media Relations, 613-907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org