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Halton Digital Access Municipal Services Corporation


We’re working to help communities get connected to 5G networks faster! Halton's Digital Access Services Corporation provides telecom providers with easy access to install infrastructure on streetlights and hydro poles, supporting quicker broadband enhancements and installation.

Helping communities get connected

What is 5G?

5G is the latest generation of high-speed wireless networks – the newest, fastest way for cell phones, mobile devices and computers to connect with the internet.

Your devices connect to a wireless network through local antennas operated by private telecommunications providers (the telecoms, such as Bell, Rogers and Telus). 5G antennas feature new technology that allow for faster speeds and a higher volume of data transfer, improving the way you use the internet for school, work and play.

Expanding 5G in Halton

To build a 5G network, telecoms attach transmitters to vertical streetlight and hydro poles, typically along Regional and Municipal roadways. Halton Region, the Local Municipalities and Hydro Companies (local electrical utilities) own approximately 80,000 of these assets, and many are suitable for 5G attachments.

To help Halton’s communities access 5G networks faster, the Region and Local Municipalities established the Halton Digital Access Services Corporation. It helps the telecoms implement critical network enhancements by making it easier for them to get installation permits for 5G antennas.  The corporation provides them with:

  • access to more than 80,000 streetlights and hydro poles in Halton;
  • standardized processes for permitting and licensing;
  • support with developing proposals; and
  • a one-window service for municipal network planning.

In the future, the corporation could also support additional telecommunications service permits beyond 5G, expediting other network enhancements for high-speed internet across the region.

Farmer using a smart phone.

About Halton Digital Access Services Corporation

In May 2023, Regional Council approved the creation of the Halton Digital Access Services Corporation (PDF file). The corporation is jointly owned by:

  • Halton Region;
  • the City of Burlington;
  • the Town of Halton Hills;
  • the Town of Milton; and
  • the Town of Oakville.

The local electrical utilities participate in the corrporation, but are not part of its ownership.

Telecoms submit requests to the corporation for permits to access streetlights and hydro poles across Halton. The corporation then assesses and issues permits to the telecoms on behalf of the governments (streetlights) and local electrical utilities (hydro poles) that own these assets.

As a result, the telecoms have a single point of contact for their permitting needs instead of working separately with the local governments and local electrical utilities, improving the process and timelines for approval.

5G tower against a blue sky.
  1. The Region, City and Towns each own 20 percent of the corporation and have one representative on its board of directors. Each local hydro provider also has a representative on the board.
  2. The Region, City and Towns licence space on streetlights to the corporation for cost recovery fees. They also delegate the permitting process to the corporation.
  3. The local hydro provides licence space on hydro poles to the corporation for market rate and overhead fees.
  4. The corporation then provides licensing and permitting services to telecoms for market rate fees.
  5. A portion of the revenue earned on fees for municipal streetlight spaces is paid to the Region, City and Towns as dividends.

Some of the main administrative considerations for the corporation include:

  • it is separate from the Region and Local Municipalities;
  • its operations are managed and overseen by its board of directors;
  • it outsources most of its services; and
  • it requires a small team of dedicated staff to ensure its success.

The corporation's strong governance is essential to its continued success, and some of these key principles include:

  • ownership of the assets are not transferred;
  • asset owners license rights to the corporation to manage the telecoms’ access to vertical streetlight and hydro poles;
  • 5G equipment and maintenance must not interfere with the primary purpose of the vertical streetlight or hydro pole; 
  • each vertical streetlight or hydro pole owner is represented; and 
  • fees charged to telecoms are based on rates that cover the MSC's operating costs and allow full cost recovery for the asset owners.

Halton Region and the Local Municipalities collected feedback from the public between November 23 and December 14, 2022 before forming the corporation. Key insights from these responses and comments helped inform recommendations to the Local and Regional Councils.

Thank you to all those who provided input as we work to help communities get connected faster!

To connect with the corporation or to access its services, please email the General Manager, Shaun Hewitt.

The benefits of 5G

The importance of high-speed internet


High-speed internet is critical for businesses to improve their productivity and efficiency to remain competitive. It is essential to attract new business and retain existing business.


Transitioning to smart agriculture and smart farming is critical to remain competitive. These advancements require high-speed internet to leverage new technologies in farming for tracking, monitoring, automating and optimizing operations.


Access to high-speed internet and online applications are becoming increasingly important for high-quality education. Modern educational technologies, including applications such as augmented and virtual reality, depend on reliable high-speed internet services at school and at home.

 The workforce

Reliable access to online applications is important to improve workforce efficiency and competitiveness.


Efficient functioning of health care services depends on reliable high-speed internet to connect with patients virtually for remote consultation, monitoring and some medical procedures.

 Public safety

Reliable high-speed internet is critical in a modern community to ensure effective response to emergencies and public safety incidents without any delays.

 Government services

Reliable high-speed internet supports public engagement and more efficient delivery of public services.

5G and resident health

Cell phone towers and 5G transmitters emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields similar to energy used by AM/FM radio and television signals. The equipment is usually installed high above ground level, often on towers and utility poles.

According to Health Canada, based on the available scientific evidence, there are no health risks from exposure to the low levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by 5G devices.

Health Canada and Industry Canada safety requirements (external link) protect residents against all established health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by telecommunications technology. All 5G transmitters installed in Halton meet these requirements to help ensure they are safe for everyone.

Moving forward

Halton continues to advocate and take action to secure reliable access to high-speed internet, including through 5G networks. This ongoing work is necessary to meet the evolving needs of residents and businesses. Bringing 5G networks to Halton will allow for faster communication between devices to support:

  • increased broadband availability;
  • smart vehicles through a reliable and secure connection to the cloud;
  • super-high-definition media streaming;
  • reliable control of remote machinery; and
  • improved networking for smart devices and technologies.

More information

  • Halton continues to advocate to the Provincial and Federal Governments to increase broadband internet connectivity to support one Gbps across Halton by 2026.
  • This advancement is required for telecommunications providers’ 5G implementations.
  • Broadband internet connectivity is one of several advocacy topics raised by Halton Region.