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Expanded internet infrastructure a priority

In today’s world, fast, reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a necessity for all Canadians, including those living in rural and remote communities. Since taking office, one of my central priorities has been to expand internet infrastructure and access to all parts of our riding, including on the Sunshine Coast, where persistent gaps remain to this day.
I’ve heard from many constituents on the Coast – from Egmont to Madeira Park to Thormanby Island and many others – about how the lack of access to high-speed internet is significantly impacting their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only further highlighted the importance of connectivity and accelerated the need to connect all Canadians. More and more, families need it for work, students need it for education, and we all need it for access to health and government services and to remain connected with our loved ones. Growing acceptance of remote work, for instance, can create significant opportunities for those to work from rural areas, provided access is available at home. This can rapidly accelerate Canada’s economic recovery, save significant amounts of commuting time, and reduce travel-related emissions.
I have made the case with caucus colleagues and ministers that persistent connectivity gaps are unacceptable, that it cannot continue, and that more has to be done. For that reason, I am especially pleased to announce that earlier this month, our Government launched the next part of our Connectivity Strategy, the Universal Broadband Fund, which will help connect 98 percent of Canadian households to high-speed internet by 2026 and every Canadian to high-speed internet by
2030.
The newly launched UBF includes a variety of programs that will help close these connectivity gaps. The Rapid Response Stream will support smaller streamlined projects of up to $5 million that can be implemented quickly, including “last mile connectivity” that plagues several of our communities. The Mobile Projects Stream will target mobile network projects that primarily benefit Indigenous communities in remote areas. In response to requests made by many in our community, we have also committed $600 million to secure low-earth-orbit satellite capacity through Telesat in order to provide high-speed internet to the most remote and hard to connect parts of our
country.
These historic investments will help bridge the long-standing urban-rural digital divide here in our community and across the country, helping to close the connectivity gap on the Sunshine Coast to ensure all residents have the technological resources they need in the twenty-first century. I am already working closely with potential partners to ensure that applications can be swiftly made under this program to meet the needs of the communities on the
Coast.
Please reach out to us: 6367 Bruce Street, West Vancouver, V7W2G5 604-913-2660 Patrick.Weiler@parl.gc.ca. Check our website for updates: www.patrickweiler.ca

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