Halton Region and its Local Municipalities are joining together in support of three proposals submitted to the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program to improve rural broadband internet and cellular coverage across the region.
The Region continues to advocate for enhanced access to broadband services for residents and businesses, and it is an identified priority in the 2019-2022 Strategic Business Plan. In 2018, Halton Region worked with the University of Guelph’s Regional and Rural Broadband project on a study of broadband, which identified significant service gaps in rural Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills.
The Province has provided a $150-million investment in ICON that has the potential to result in a total investment of $500-million in broadband and cellular coverage when combined with additional partner funding. For the first intake of the ICON program, which closed August 21, 2020, the Region delivered a Halton Rural Broadband webinar and met with telecommunications providers to promote the ICON program and encourage applications. The Region and its Local Municipalities have provided support for three proposals for areas within Halton, including the communities identified in the University of Guelph study.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband internet and cellular coverage has become more important than ever to our residents and businesses—whether it’s working from home, taking part in online learning or moving a business online,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We ask the Province to lend its support to the proposals submitted to ICON so we can meet the rural broadband needs of our growing community and preserve our high quality of life for years to come."
The Region continues to encourage Provincial and Federal rural broadband funding submissions led by telecommunications service providers looking to build, own and operate services that would fill the broadband internet services gaps in rural Halton.
To learn more about the Region’s advocacy on universal access to broadband internet and cellular coverage, please visit the Advocating for a Strong Halton page on halton.ca.
“We are living in a digital age and access to broadband is more important than ever for small businesses, families and students, especially during the pandemic. Half of Burlington is rural. We proudly support these proposals to ensure everyone in our community has access to broadband coverage no matter where they live, work, play or study.” – Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown first-hand how important it is to have internet and cellular coverage. Halton Hills supports these proposals to ICON, which would help address current service gaps in our rural areas and ensure our residents can stay informed, safe and healthy.” – Rick Bonnette, Mayor of Halton Hills
“As our community continues to grow, it is increasingly important to address the service gaps in rural broadband—particularly in rural Milton. We call on the Province to support these innovative proposals and this critical infrastructure that keeps our community connected.” – Gordon Krantz, Mayor of Milton
“Broadband internet and cellphone coverage are a crucial part of our everyday lives. Oakville is proud to support the proposals to improve access to broadband across Halton and ensure everyone has access to this essential service.” – Rob Burton, Mayor of Oakville
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.