MNDM News Release ...
September 04, 2007
Ontario Invests Over $17 Million In Northern Telecom Expansion - Projects Enhance Economic Opportunities And Quality Of Life Across North
SUDBURY – McGuinty government investments in cellular telephone and broadband Internet services will deliver new opportunities for community growth and a better quality of life for northerners, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.
“Our communities need access to reliable telecommunications infrastructure that will allow them to share in the benefits of modern technology,” said Bartolucci, who also chairs the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). “By expanding services to many more northern communities, these projects open up possibilities in education, health care, culture and business.”
The NOHFC is providing $17.4 million in support of 12 projects that will enhance telecommunications infrastructure across the North. The projects will provide almost continuous cellular coverage along major highways from Sault Ste. Marie to the Manitoba border and deliver almost complete broadband coverage within that area. In addition, they will extend coverage to hard-to-service locations such as the James Bay Coast and the remote Far North. In all, the residents of more than 130 northern communities will benefit from new and enhanced services.
“These improvements will greatly enhance the lives of residents in affected northern communities by providing them with access to a whole new range of products, services, information and activities,” said Bartolucci. “The expansion of telecommunications infrastructure will help ensure that all northerners have an opportunity to participate in the global information society.”
Today’s investment is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in the North. Other examples include:
• Contributing $250,000 to help Algoma University College establish a computer gaming technology centre on campus
• Investing $2.5 million over four years in the production of Météo Plus, a new television series to be filmed and produced in the Sudbury area
• Providing $67,500 to Geraldton Community Forest Inc. to do preparatory work for an online interactive mapping application that will provide users with a comprehensive view of all the tourism values, natural features and recreational activities Northern Ontario has to offer.
These initiatives are part of the government’s Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. The plan has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.
NEW CELLULAR AND BROADBAND INVESTMENTS IN THE NORTH
Twelve new projects will deliver expanded telecommunications services to the residents of more than 130 communities throughout Northern Ontario.
Under its Public Sector Emerging Technology program, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is investing in the following 10 proposals from partnerships and alliances of municipalities, private sector businesses and organizations, federal government and other government-related agencies:
• The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre:
- $1,650,000 to build on a partnership with Thunder Bay Telephone and FedNor to enhance services for more than 1,000 customers along 210 kilometres of highway in the Red Lake area
- $967,000 to extend and enhance services to residents along Highway 17 west from Thunder Bay to Vermillion Bay and from Thunder Bay south to the U.S. border
- $2,500,000 to provide broadband and telecommunications services to 37 communities and enhance services to another 28 communities along 1,100 kilometres of highways 11, 71 and 17
- $3,400,000 to implement enhanced cellular telephone services affecting up to 11,000 residents in more than 20 communities along 360 kilometres of Highway 17 between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie
• City of Kenora – $1,913,847 to expand cellular coverage to the communities of Minaki, Redditt, Whitedog First Nation, Wauzhushik Onigum First Nation and Pine, and to provide high speed wireless Internet service in the currently unserved communities of Sunnyside, Blindfold Lake, Echo Bay and Black Sturgeon East
• Rainy River Future Development Corporation – $2,500,000 to complete gaps in cellular and broadband Internet services along Highway 11 in the Rainy River-to-Shabaqua area
• Town of Cochrane – $113,423, in conjunction with Cochrane Telecom Services, to offer services to 57 occupied lots in the Silver Queen Lake area of the municipality
• K-Net Services, through Keewaytinook Okimakanak Northern Chiefs Council – $1,000,000 construct and pilot a cellular demonstration telecommunications infrastructure initiative in Keewaywin and Weagamow First Nations
• Mushkegowuk Council – $1,000,000 to bring high-speed Internet connectivity to Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany
• Blue Sky Economic Growth Corporation – $331,615 to increase access to high speed Internet in Ardbeg, Bayfield Inlet, Bear Lake, Carling Township, Dokis, Marten River, Nobel, Otter, Pointe Au Baril, Shawanaga and Tilden Lake
The NOHFC’s Infrastructure and Community Development program will assist two projects that rely on effective partnerships to create jobs and improve economic prospects in the North through improvements to infrastructure. Contributions include:
• $1,000,000 to the recently formed Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission to assist in the development of the Whalen Information and Communications Technology cluster in Thunder Bay’s downtown north core, an effort that is expected to attract inbound sectoral investment around the city-owned Whalen building
• $1,000,000 to Confederation College’s Advanced Technology for Learning Project (the Learning Commons) to produce learning spaces and electronic access across the region in support of the NOHFC’s investment in expanded northern broadband capacity.
A vital component of the Northern Prosperity Plan, the NOHFC works through six unique programs to foster private sector job creation while supporting critical infrastructure and community development projects that build a foundation for future economic growth and enhanced quality of life.
Ron St. Louis
Communications Services Branch
MNDM – Sudbury
Communications Services Branch
MNDM – Toronto
Northern Development Advisor
MNDM – Thunder Bay