Corp Comm Connects

Broadband internet services to be expanded in rural King Township

'Thousands of people are still looking to be hooked up and we want everybody here to be covered'
July 26, 2019
Sheila Wang

More homes in rural areas of King Township are expected to be connected with broadband internet services in the near future.

King-Vaughan MP Deb Schulte updated concerned King residents on the progress of the much-anticipated broadband expansion on July 17 at a town hall in Nobleton.

Over the past two years, a total of 550 homes, farms and businesses along the Jane Street corridor have been connected to fibre-optic internet through $1.65 million in funding from the federal government and the province of Ontario.

Announced back in 2017, the federal Small Communities Fund was created in partnership with the province and internet service provider Vianet to help bring service to residents and businesses in rural areas.

Some 1,000 homes and business in Innisfill and Bradford have also benefited from the project.

“I’m very frustrated that I couldn’t do more,” Schulte told a full house at Nobleton Arena, noting all three levels of government have been working to bring broadband internet to more rural homes.

There are about 8,000 homes and 4,000 businesses in King Township, according to 2016 census data and 2017 Canadian Business Patterns (CBP) data. A majority of them are located in the three villages: King City, Nobleton, and Schomberg.

While residents in the villages have been relatively well served with internet services, it has been a long struggle to introduce high-speed internet to rural homes, which are often located far apart from each other, hidden under thick tree canopies, or down in valleys.

“It’s coming. It’s coming slowly. If you go drive around right now along Weston Road, you’ll see the Ditch Witches going. They’re pulling fibres around. It’s happening,” Mayor Steve Pellegrini told the audience.

Meanwhile, the federal government committed $2 million earlier this spring in new or improved high-speed internet access for Udora and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in York Region.

The funding will be put toward building a “digital backbone” of high-speed networks, which will be essential for the future broadband services in the surrounding communities, Schulte said.

Acknowledging some residents’ frustration over the slow progress of the internet expansion in rural King, the MP said the unique blend of rural and suburban communities can make it difficult to for the township obtain funding for internet services.

But Schulte remains hopeful.

“Thousands of people are still looking to be hooked up to the internet in King and we want everybody here to be covered.”

It is estimated that 90 per cent of Canadians will be connected by 2021, and 100 per cent will have access by 2030, according to Canada’s Connectivity Strategy.

The internet providers in King -- Bell, Rogers, Xplornet Communications and Vianet -- were present at the meeting and addressed concerns.

“At the end of the day, I want people to truly understand. We’re gonna work with anybody and everybody to help with this,” Pellegrini said.