Eves government awards broadband funding of $1.2 million to Eastern Ontario partnership

Archived Release

Eves government awards broadband funding of $1.2 million to Eastern Ontario partnership

CORNWALL, ON, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - The Ernie Eves government is awarding the first funding recipient for Connect Ontario: Broadband Regional Access (COBRA) from eastern Ontario, Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation Minister Jim Flaherty announced today.
CEONET from the Township of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott- Russell and First Nations Mohawk reserve of Akewsasne will receive up to $1.2 million. The organization will use the funding to develop a comprehensive telecommunication infrastructure to provide broadband access for the townships, libraries, educational facilities, and business groups.
"In eastern Ontario, we are excited about this announcement and we look forward to working with our municipal partners in building the new infrastructure for our region," Brenda Wilson, CEO of CEONET.
COBRA is a three-year $55 million program that brings high-speed telecommunications to northern and rural communities across the province. The program encourages public-private partnerships in creating inexpensive, reliable broadband connectivity. Government costs will be shared with these partnerships, and communities will be expected to get funding from other sources.
"In laying down the necessary technology infrastructure, all regions across Ontario will have broadband access," said Flaherty. "This will give communities the opportunity to market themselves throughout the province and on a global scale. COBRA allows business to remain or relocate in the community of their choice, helping to create and maintain jobs and stimulate the local economy."
This program is the next phase of Connect Ontario, funded by SuperBuild. The first phase is Connect Ontario: Partnering for Smart Communities, a government initiative to improve community-based information and services, and promote local communities through regional portals.
"Our main goal is to work with communities to get all of Ontario connected," said Flaherty. "The Connect Ontario program gives rural and northern communities the opportunity to participate in the digital economy. In turn, Ontario will become a global Internet and e-business hub."
For more information about COBRA and how to apply, please visit: http://www.ontariocanada.com/ontcan/en/rts/rts_connect-ontario.jsp.

Disponible en français

For more information visit www.ontariocanada.com.

Backgrounder
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GOVERNMENT PROVIDES ACCESS TO BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY
FOR RURAL AND NORTHERN COMMUNITIES

Connect Ontario: Broadband Regional Access (COBRA) is a three-year $55 million program that expands high-speed telecommunications to small communities in rural and northern Ontario. Funded by SuperBuild, COBRA is led jointly by the Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation and Management Board Secretariat.
The program encourages public-private partnerships to create the infrastructure for affordable, reliable broadband connectivity to about 80 per cent of Ontario's geographic regions. The government hopes to use broadband to further its goal in making Ontario an e-business hub. COBRA will:

- improve government services such as e-learning and e-government for
public use;
- stimulate innovation and competitiveness in business and agriculture;
and
- encourage valuable links between urban and rural areas.

Connect Ontario

COBRA is the second phase of Connect Ontario, a government initiative to invest in public-private partnerships that improve community-based information and services, and promote local communities over the Internet. To date, Connect Ontario has funded 26 business plans and three infrastructure projects. COBRA is the next step, with a focus on broadband.

Why Broadband

Broadband is a high-capacity, two-way link between an end user and access network suppliers. Connectivity can be delivered through a number of alternate means, including ADSL (high speed telephone line), cable modem, fibre and wireless.
This technology supports key government priorities such as e-government and improved service delivery. It enables key business applications that support innovation and regional economic development.

Benefits to Rural and Northern Communities

This program is for communities in rural and northern Ontario that currently do not have access to high-speed telecommunications. By implementing the broadband infrastructure, rural and northern communities will be able to fully participate in the new economy.
This initiative brings affordable access to broadband connectivity to public sector organizations and broader public sector institutions in remote areas. All telecommunications networks will provide open access to stimulate future connectivity to businesses and residents in small and rural communities. This allows local businesses to stay in their communities and promote themselves over the Internet.
Expanding broadband connectivity also supports regional economic development through public-private partnerships, which will improve the business case for new investments.

COBRA Complements Federal Program

The federal government is also investing in expanding broadband connectivity to rural Canada. The Province is working closely with Industry Canada's Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) program and has participated in the review of Ontario applications for business funding. Regional partnerships can include funding from federal initiatives in their COBRA proposals.

Regional Partnerships

To be eligible for COBRA, communities must establish or build on existing regional partnerships, which should include representatives from school boards, business and technology associations, hospitals, First Nations communities and other community groups. They may also include business partners such as commercial and private users, tourism organizations, chambers of commerce and residential associations. Telecommunications service suppliers are not to be included in the partnerships.

Program Funding

COBRA will fund up to 50 per cent of total eligible capital costs for regional infrastructure projects. Support may be provided for costs over 50 per cent in northern areas with low population densities and no significant anchor communities. Partnerships in low density, northern regions qualify for funding up to $100,000 for business plans.

For further information and how to apply, please visit:
http://www.ontariocanada.com/ontcan/en/rts/rts_connect-ontario.jsp

Disponible en français
For further information: Contact: Dan Robertson, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8321