High-speed internet deal includes Leeds Grenville

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The Ontario government has signed a $1.25-billion agreement with eight service providers to provide high-speed internet access to as many as 266,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2025.

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“This competitive process is the first of its kind in Canada and has led to an unprecedented market response and commitment to deliver high-speed internet connections to communities that have been left underserved until now,” Michael Lindsay, president and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario, said in a news release Thursday.

Municipalities in the Leeds and Grenville area as well as Lanark County are among those to be served by Xplornet Communications. The company is to receive an estimated $240 million in provincial funding for communities in which the estimated number of unserved or underserved homes and businesses totals more than 54,000. Totals for each municipality were not immediately available.

Communities, including those in Greater Napanee, Frontenac County and Addington Highlands will be served by Bell Canada, which has received $483.8 million in provincial funding. Xplornet will also be serving Frontenac, as well as the Frontenac Islands, Kingston and Loyalist.

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Six other companies also received funding. Rogers Communications Canada Inc. received $171 million in provincial funding, North Frontenac Telephone Company received $39.5 million, Eh!tel Networks Inc. received $24.7 million, Community Network Partners received $150.0 million, Cogeco Connexion received $74.3 million, and Bragg Communication received $69 million from the province.

The funding was provided through a two-stage competitive process and is part of the province’s investment of nearly $4 billion to bring reliable high-speed internet to rural communities.

“Our government has made access to high-speed internet a priority for rural Ontario, and we’re delivering on that commitment,” Lisa Thompson, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, said in a news release. “Access to high-speed internet will help build Ontario and strengthen communities by helping families stay in touch, enabling them to access the supports they need, while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.”

scrosier@postmedia.com

With files by The Recorder and Times

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