Corp Comm Connects

'Closing the divide': Funding boost to expand high-speed internet across York Region
Aug. 9, 2021

York Region is one of the dozens of communities benefiting from a massive broadband funding announcement that seeks to bring high-speed internet to underserved areas.

The governments of Canada and Ontario announced $1.2 billion Aug. 6 that aims to accelerate the completion of broadband projects across the province.

York Region’s internet service provider, Yorknet, is one of the companies partnering for the funding. Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson said with the confirmed funding, internet service will expand by more than 500 kilometres to target 66,000 underserved homes and almost 1,000 commercial and industrial properties in the region.

“We are closing the divide between those who have access and those who do not,” Emmerson said.

Governments are announcing the funding across the province, with a goal to connect all households to high-speed internet by 2025. The federal government said seven projects across central Ontario would receive more than $230 million in total.

King-Vaughan MP and Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte said it is a top issue within her riding, and the communities within it will stand to benefit.

“In today’s world, there can be no denying that access to high-quality, high-speed internet is essential,” Schulte said. “It’s just as important today as roads and bridges.”

The communities being targeted by Yorknet's efforts include Pottageville, Queensville, Mount Albert, Nobleton, Preston Lake, Dickson Hill, Sutton, Lloydtown, Kleinburg, Brown Hill, Ballantrae, King City, Pefferlaw, Elmhurst Beach and Vaughan.

Newmarket-Aurora MP Tony Van Bynen said broadband expansion across York Region has been a priority for the local Liberal caucus for many years.

“We’re happy to see our government recognize the importance of connectivity in today’s world,” Van Bynen said.

Emmerson said the funding would also bring the potential of high-speed internet to thousands of extra homes and businesses by enabling providers to connect to Yorknet’s open access network.

Governments are aiming to provide at least 50 megabits per second download speeds and 10 megabits per second upload speeds everywhere. York Region mapping shows many parts of the region do not have access to those speeds, primarily in East Gwillimbury, Georgina and King. 

“We look forward to progressing this important work,” Emmerson said.