Northern Ontario Broadband Report
State of Broadband in Northern Ontario
The Federal Government of Canada and the Ontario Provincial Government understand the importance of high-quality internet access. In fact, both have set a target for 50/10Mbps internet access – the Federal Government aiming for every household by 2030 and the Province of Ontario for every Ontario household by 2025. Although the Federal Government currently states that as of 2021, 91% of Canadian households had access to Fixed high-speed internet, a recent report by Auditor General Karen Hogan found that there was a significant digital divide between rural and remote communities and larger urban centres. In the auditor general’s report, they found that rural and remote communities were currently at 59.5% high-speed internet access.
Blue Sky Net recently completed a study reviewing where Northern Ontario currently fits in when it comes to high-speed internet access and has published the Northern Ontario Broadband Report. Using the latest available data from the Federal Government, Blue Sky Net has found that of the 285 Northern Ontario communities, only 74 had at least 50% of their households able to access 50/10Mbps terrestrial high-speed internet. Of those 74 communities, only 47 had at least 75% of households accessing 50/10Mbps internet.
The study also found that smaller communities in Northern Ontario felt the impact of this digital divide the hardest. According to Census Canada, of the 285 Northern Ontario Communities, 187 had populations under 1,000 and only 41 of these communities had at least 50% of their households able to access 50/10Mbps internet.
Key Findings from the northern ontario broadband report
Of the 285 communities within the Federally defined region of Northern Ontario, 74 have at least 50% of households with access to50/10Mbps broadband speeds.
Through the 31,895 recorded Northern Ontario speed tests from 2020-2022:
–The median download speed increased from 4.88Mbps to 20.21Mbps
–The number of speed tests taken increased and decreased in-step with COVID-19 health measures and access to in-person work, study and entertainment.
Governments are making significant investments in bridging the digital divide
–There are presently 73 announced, in-progress or recently completed broadband projects throughout the Northern Ontario region.