A collaboration of funding between the Ontario and Canadian governments will connect over 16,000 homes in more than 45 communities to high-speed broadband internet.

Thunder Bay – Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski calls the money an important advancement for the North.

“I think this is really something that will make a tangible difference in the lives of a lot of people living in rural areas, not even that far from Thunder Bay.”

The government isn’t alone in this, it's partnered with various internet service providers to lay down the infrastructure to get those homes connected.

Those providers include Bell Canada, which is working in Central Patricia, Ear Falls, Madsen and Pickle Lake, Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, Geraldton, Longlac and Animiigoo Zaagi’gan Anishinaabek near Beardmore.

Meanwhile, Celerity Telecom, in partnership with the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre will focus on Ignace.

Several communities within the Lac Seul First Nation, such as Frenchman’s Head, Kejick Bay, and Whitefish Bay will be going online with K-Net working alongside Keewaytinook Okimakanak.

Closer to Thunder Bay Tbaytel is continuing its push to bring connectivity to several of the municipalities surrounding the city such as Gillies, Gorham, O’Connor, Kakabeka Falls and Amethyst Harbour.

Tbaytel President Dan Topatigh says he is grateful for the assistance from both levels of government, as for an individual organization it would be a near-impossible task.

“I want to specifically thank both the province and the federal government for recognizing the need for high-cost serving areas and the ability to help us deliver this service at the end of the day.”

Topatigh adds Tbaytel is eager to get started and has already started in some areas with 2,700 homes they expect to pass in the next couple of years.

Thunder Bay–Superior North MP Patty Hajdu says this latest announcement only improves the day-to-day life for residents.

“We’re really seeing the progress of closing that gap in making sure that no matter where you live in Northern Ontario you’re going to be able to rely on high-speed internet in your community.”

The end goal of investing in broadband across the country is to see 98% of Canadians connected by 2026 and the remaining population connected by 2030.