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Province investing $315 M in rural internet and mobile

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PARRY SOUND, ON – Families and businesses in rural and remote communities can look forward to high-speed internet and better cellphone service as the province releases its first-ever, $315 million plan to improve and expand service.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller said it is part of his government’s mandate to improve on communications for Ontarians.

“Our government is committed to help families and businesses stay connected, no matter where they live,” said Miller. “This investment is big news for parts of Parry Sound-Muskoka where broadband and cellular service are not available.”

The plan includes a $150 million commitment for a new broadband fund, which will leverage private sector funding along with support from other levels of government, to drive investment and expansion to unserved and underserved communities.

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The startup money is expected to generate a spin-off of $1 billion over five years as other companies invest in infrastructure. The government thinks this will lead to community, social and economic benefits beyond the initial investment from the province.

The new Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott, commented on this major announcement, her first since taking over the portfolio following a June cabinet shuffle.

“Too many people, especially those living in rural and remote communities, do not have access to reliable internet access,” said Scott. “It means they can’t work from home, stay connected to family and friends, or access public services such as health care and education. In our increasingly digital world, being disconnected means being disadvantaged. This must change.”

It will likely have benefits for her largely rural riding as she represents Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.

Ontario is also addressing barriers to infrastructure expansion by maximizing the use of existing government assets and programs and cutting red tape to encourage broadband and cellular expansion.

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