Funding to bring high-speed Internet for Canadians in rural and remote communities—Overview

The Connect to Innovate program is now closed for applications.

1. Overview

The Connect to Innovate program will bring high-speed Internet to 300 rural and remote communities across Canada. Project funding is focused on building new backbone infrastructure in communities to provide connections to institutions like schools, hospitals and libraries. In addition, eligibility included backbone capacity upgrades and resiliency, as well as last-mile infrastructure projects to households and businesses where there are persistent connectivity gaps and a demonstrated need.

How does it work?

The program was launched on December 15, 2016. The program is now closed for applications. Applications are being thoroughly reviewed against the program criteria and eligible projects will be selected at the discretion of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The program provides one-time, non-repayable contributions to eligible and approved applicants.

Costs supported include:

  • direct labour and capital costs for the deployment of high-speed Internet infrastructure
  • related purchases of hardware and software or upgrades of equipment
  • leases of satellite capacity, and other costs directly related to the program's eligible activities, including rental of equipment
  • fees for associated contracted services (e.g. environmental assessment consultants or professional engineers)

The program operates on a cost-sharing basis. Typically the maximum amount of funding that an applicant could request for new backbone and new last-mile is up to 75% of the total eligible costs. For satellite-dependent and remote communities, the program contribution limit for new backbone projects could be up to 90 percent of eligible backbone costs.

The program provides up to 50 percent of eligible costs for all projects that propose backbone resiliency or capacity upgrades and partially served last-mile.

Total government assistance for all projects, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal, does not exceed 100 percent of eligible costs.