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By MPP David Piccini

David Piccini150This week, our government announced that we will be making a historic $1 billion investment to improve broadband and cellular access across Ontario as a part of Budget 2020, providing many more people with better ways to connect, to work, to learn, and to stay in touch during these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 has made us all even more aware of how important it is to remain connected to our businesses, friends and loved ones. These connections were made all the more difficult for residents right here in Northumberland-Peterborough South by unreliable internet connections. At a time when social distancing is being encouraged, many of our friends and neighbours who live outside Clarington, the wandering hills of Northumberland and the north shores of rice lake in Peterborough South are further isolated from us because of inadequate access to the internet. More importantly, we have a moral and economic imperative to act now. For our region to succeed, we must address internet shortages.

That is why, as part of the plan to recover from the pandemic Ontario’s vision is to connect every home, business and farm in Ontario to broadband services by investing an additional $680 million in the upcoming 2020 Ontario budget. We know we cannot do this alone, to succeed we will need support from all levels of Government. To date, our Federal Government has been embarrassingly silent on this issue and we will need their support and commitment to expanding the spectrum to increased competition. Regardless, Ontario will not wait and is working closely with our municipalities to address the digital gap.

We want to make sure that those of us who need to work from home can do so reliably, while those back to working in person can take advantage of the opportunities that high speed internet can provide a rural sole proprietor, our many farms or a small business looking to expand its reach to new clients. This significant investment will help build up communities across Ontario, supporting increased economic development and providing more opportunities for young people and businesses to grow. For Ontario to recover, we need strong, sustained economic growth. This investment is welcome action to removing long-standing structural barriers to this growth. Better broadband is not just about getting us back on track, it's about putting the pieces in place to make us more productive, competitive and connected than we were before. 

MPP David Piccini