Connect to Innovate: Bringing high-speed Internet to rural & remote communities

A new federal broadband infrastructure program, Connect to Innovate was launched this week by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Connect to Innovate will invest up to $500 million by 2021 to support new and upgraded backbone and last-mile infrastructure projects in underserved rural and remote communities across Canada to ensure that our country is drawing on the strengths of all Canadians to drive innovation, growth, and the creation of new jobs.  The program will primarily support new backbone infrastructure to underserved communities to connect institutions like schools, hospitals, libraries and First Nation band offices as well as enable improved residential and business service.   A portion of the program funding will include upgrades to backbone infrastructure as well as last-mile infrastructure projects to households and businesses who do not have speeds of 5 Megabits per second (Mbps).
The launch of Connect to Innovate coincides with a competitive national call for applications for the program.  As of today, applicants can access the Connect to Innovate website and begin preparing applications.   Applications will be able to be submitted online as early as January 16, 2017 with a deadline for submissions on March 13, 2017 at Noon Eastern Standard Time.
The website provides applicants with the application toolkit which includes the application guide, form and other materials to direct applicants through the development of proposals.   The website also provides an Eligibility Map that identifies underserved communities and areas eligible under the program.