Feds send nearly $30 million for broadband internet expansion to Whitby

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Published July 28, 2023 at 2:18 pm

A service provider technician is shown here working to install fiber optic connections.

Durham Region is set to get nearly $30 million from the federal government to expand broadband internet access to its smaller under-served communities.

On July 28, Regional Chair John Henry announced Durham had received the funds from the Universal Broadband Fund, a $3.2 billion resource for communities to expand internet service to remote and rural homes. The fund is overseen by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The Province also chipped in with some funds from their Improving Connectivity for Ontario program.

The network is being built in part by Durham OneNet Inc, a Regionally owned corporation founded in 2021 to “design, build and operate a fibre-optic backbone network.” Durham OneNet describes its goal as to “facilitate faster and more reliable broadband access to Durham Region residents, businesses and institutions so that they may fully participate, compete and thrive in the twenty-first century.”

Joining Durham One Net on the project is Vianet, a private internet service provider. Since 1995, Vianet has supplied internet service to numerous communities across southern Ontario. They’ve recently developed networks similar to the Durham project in Caledon, King, and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

When complete, the network will provide service to 10 small communities including;

  • Ashburn,
  • Columbus,
  • Courtice,
  • Greenbank,
  • Leaskdale,
  • Manchester,
  • Myrtle,
  • Raglan,
  • Sunderland, and
  • Uxbridge

Design work for the network started last year and construction began in November. The Region estimates the project will take until December 2025 to complete. This is the second major network expansion project in recent years with a network linking Pickering and Uxbridge completed in 2022.

“Residents and businesses in Durham Region have made it clear that they need high-speed broadband connectivity. The Region is proud to partner with the provincial and federal governments to fund further development of broadband infrastructure in Durham,” Henry said.

 

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