Ontario Partners With World-Class Satellite Operator to Bring High-Speed Connectivity Across Province

Published on August 06, 2021

Investment in the largest space program in Canadian history to meet future connectivity needs and support strategic high-tech sector

News Release

HANOVER — The Ontario government is continuing to meet the rapid rise in demand for high-speed connectivity at home and around the world by investing more than $109 million in Telesat’s next-generation Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite Network, Telesat Lightspeed.

Telesat Lightspeed is the largest space program ever undertaken in Canada and represents a $6.5 billion capital investment by Telesat. Ontario’s investment secures dedicated high-speed satellite bandwidth for local internet service providers to purchase at reduced rates, enabling them to provide affordable, high-speed connectivity services, including LTE and 5G, to various communities across the province. The program will also bring to the province about $20 million in capital expenditures including a new, state-of-the-art gateway landing station at Telesat’s Allan Park teleport near Hanover as well as the expansion of the company’s operations in Ottawa.

“Supporting Telesat is an investment in economic growth and good jobs in Ontario now and on the horizon,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This is an investment in continued research and development, and the commercialization of satellite technologies in Ontario with economic benefits that will resonate in communities across the province.”

Ontario’s investment is aimed at futureproofing and diversifying the province’s broadband infrastructure. The satellite network is expected to go into service in the first half of 2024.

Ontario’s investment will help further the government’s ongoing commitment to ensure all regions in Ontario have access to high-speed internet, while spurring greater innovation in the province, increasing Ontario’s competitive advantage, and advancing the province’s commitment as an international leader in this increasingly important high-tech industry.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important high-speed internet and reliable cellular services are to participate in today’s digital world,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our investment in satellite today will help ensure our future demands for connectivity are met in communities across the province, and for generations to come.”

“Access to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet connectivity is essential in today’s digital economy,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “This partnership with the Government of Ontario will not only achieve the province’s goal of connecting everyone, regardless of where they live, to affordable high-speed Internet, but also positions Ontario at the forefront of the highly strategic New Space Economy through Telesat’s local investments in jobs and technology innovations.”

Ontario’s investment to meet future connectivity needs also builds on the government’s existing initiatives to expand high-speed internet in communities across the province, many of which are already connecting homes and businesses today.

Ontario announced in March its bold commitment of nearly $4 billion to connect every region to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. This commitment is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history. Ontario is now one of the few jurisdictions in Canada with its own comprehensive and proactive plan to achieve full connectivity.

On July 29, 2021, the Province announced a joint provincial and federal investment of up to $1.2 billion in 58 new projects to bring high-speed internet to up to 280,000 rural households in hundreds of communities through the provincial Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program and the federal Universal Broadband Fund programs.

Ontario also announced an investment of up to $14.7 million in 13 projects to expand high-speed internet in more communities, from Belleville to Bancroft, Muskoka Lakes to Puslinch, and Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls to Moose Cree First Nation.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is commiting $109.2 million to set aside 40 gigabits of broadband capacity on Telesat Lightspeed for local service provider use for five years.
  • Low Earth Orbit satellites have much lower latency (signal travel time between Earth and the satellites) compared to current communications satellites, allowing for faster internet speeds.
  • Following a signed agreement, Telesat and Ontario would determine how the dedicated capacity would be used based on the connectivity needs of the day.
  • Ontario recently announced a new innovative procurement process to help connect underserved and unserved communities. Over the coming months, the Province plans on announcing more details on how it will help ensure every region in Ontario has access to high-speed internet.
  • The Province has invested in initiatives to improve connectivity across Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. It has also invested in high-speed internet projects in rural and Northern communities through other initiatives, such as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Next Generation Network Program.
  • Expanding access to high-speed internet is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government , which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.