Connect to Innovate

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Broadband and Connect to Innovate

internet broadband fibre

Council approves roadmap for implementing broadband strategy

PDF icon Town of Georgina Broadband Roadmap (134.12 KB)

May 5, 2021 -PDF icon Council Report (305.17 KB) - Progress report and next steps for implementing the Broadband Strategy

May 5, 2021- Staff presentation - Progress report and next steps for implementing the Broadband Strategy
May 5, 2021 - YorkNet presentation - Dark fibre in York Region


The Government of Canada announced a major investment in new high-speed internet access for Udora and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in 2019.

CTI Construction Updates

York Region through YorkNet, continues to enhance and expand dark fibre in underserved areas of the Region. As part of the Connect to Innovate Program (CTI), YorkNet is currently expanding the dark fibre network to improve connectivity for underserved communities, primarily the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nations and the community of Udora. Once the CTI section of the network is complete in 2021, YorkNet will make fibre connectivity available to internet carriers, who can in turn offer internet services to residents and businesses. View the construction bulletins for updates.

New - Two internet service providers, Ruralwave and Vianet are leveraging YorkNet's government funded fibre project to provide fibre to the home broadband connectivity to the Udora area. Inquiries surrounding services, timelines and pricing should be directed to these companies.

Broadband Strategy and Action Plan

Council approved the Broadband Strategy and Action Plan on April 22, 2020.
It has three key actions:

  • Identification of a broadband champion to ensure sustained momentum
  • Issue a Request for Information (RFI) to formally engage internet service providers on approaches for improving connectivity, with a report back to Council in Q3 2020 on recommended next steps
  • Development of a set of broadband-related policies and requirements including a dig-once policy, enhanced connectivity criteria for new developments and standardized processes/agreements for access to the South Shore Community Broadband (SSCB) network and municipal rights-of-way

PDF icon Broadband Strategy and Action Plan 

Dec., 16, 2020 - Ottawa and Regional Municipality of York investments will bring high-speed internet to Georgina Island and Udora 
May 8, 2020 - Media Release - PDF icon Council approves Broadband Strategy and Action Plan (305.44 KB)
PDF icon Broadband Strategy and Action Plan - Council report - April 22, 2020 

Council workshop

Members of Council participated in a workshop on a Broadband Strategy and Action Plan for the Town on Feb. 12, 2020. The workshop focused on direction setting for the strategy and looked at a vision, guiding principles, top three priorities, funding options and the future of the South Shore Community Broadband – a wireless network owned by the Town.  

Workshop - Broadband Strategy and Action Plan 
Workshop - Direction of Broadband Strategy and Action Plan 
Feb. 18, 2020 - Media Release 
Nov. 20, 2019 - Presentation - Connect to Innovate Information Session
May 23, 2019 - Media Release 
Oct. 2, 2019  PDF icon Briefing Note (414.5 KB) to Council - Development of Georgina’s Broadband Strategy and Action Plan 

Q and As 

What is Connect To Innovate?
  • Connect To Innovate is a Government of Canada program to bring high speed internet to rural and remote communities in Canada
  • This program will result in  new "backbone" infrastructure to connect institutions like schools and hospitals
  • In York Region, backbone infrastructure will be deployed creating a fibre optic network expansion that supports public facilities in underserved communities, primarily the Chippewas of  Georgina Island First Nation and community of Udora
Why is this program important?
  • The Connect to Innovate program ensures that rural and remote communities across Canada are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age
  • Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities and are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.
  • Internet access serves as more than just a convenience: it is an essential means by which citizens, businesses and institutions access information, offer services and create opportunities that could otherwise be out of reach
  • Building this infrastructure is the modern equivalent of building roads or railway into rural and remote areas
Will YorkNet offer services to residential homes?
  • YorkNet is a dark fibre provider and does not provide internet service directly to residents.  Once the Connect to Innovate section of the network is complete in 2021, YorkNet will make fibre connectivity available to internet carriers, who can in turn offer services to residents and businesses in these underserved areas
  • Residents who do not have access to high-speed internet or are unsatisfied with their current Internet service, may wish to contact the Internet service providers that offer services in their  area to determine if they will be providing enhanced services as a result of this investment
  • If residents are speaking with Internet Service Provider’s ensure they speak with York Region on potential opportunities or to clarify specific details.
Why was the current route selected?
  • The Connect To Innovate program is focussed on serving rural and remote communities. Specific criteria were developed by the Federal Government to identify eligible communities.  Under the program, the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the community of Udora in York Region qualified for the funding.
How long will the expansion to Georgina Island and Udora take?
  • The project will take approximately two years to complete. It is expected to be completed by the spring of 2021.
How much will the expansion cost?
  • The total project is estimated to cost $5.2 million. The Government of Canada has generously funded $2M and York Region will fund the remaining $3.2M.
Why is this expansion important to York Region?
  • Extending and enhancing broadband service in our rural communities is a top priority for York Region and the Town of Georgina
  • Access to broadband is critical to improving the delivery of education and health care while driving innovation, economic growth and job creation
  • As a result of this investment, Internet Service Providers will have the opportunity to lease fibre that will enable members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the residents of Udora to connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age
What is YorkNet?
  • YorkNet is a separate corporation created by York Region
  • Incorporated under the Ontario Business Corporations Act in 2017, YorkNet is focused on maintaining and expanding the Region’s telecom network to support economic development and innovation in York Region, and to provide cost-effective open-access fibre connectivity for Third-Party Providers
  • What started out as a small network in 2002 has evolved into a 200-kilometre fibre highway connecting a variety of Regional buildings and assets, including traffic control, transit, social housing units and water-quality monitoring systems. This network also supports administrative services across the Region, connects hospitals, local municipal facilities/operations, libraries and police services
What is YorkNet’s plan for constructing a fibre network throughout the Region?
  • YorkNet has developed a 10-year plan for constructing the Regional network.  Over the next 10 years, additional fibre network will be constructed in all municipalities in the Region
  • Partners, such as the Town of Georgina are collaborating with YorkNet on a strategy and opportunities to increase internet speeds to residents and businesses across the Town
What is the difference between Dark fibre and Lit fibre?
  • Dark fibre is fibre optic infrastructure that’s not yet in use by a service carrier or a provider. It is an installation of cables currently lying dormant, ready to be connected at some time in the future. Because they literally lack the lasers that send light through the cables, it is called “dark” fibre
  • A Lit fibre service is a large bandwidth connection providing high-speed Internet or data service delivered over fibre optic lines. Lit fibre is used by businesses that are engaged in telecommunications, wholesale Internet access, or wholesale ISP services to provide the bandwidth capacity needed for customer applications including email, file sharing, web hosting, data backup, video, VOIP, or VPN access
Who should I contact for more information on the Connect to Innovate Program?

David Gill, Outside Plant Fibre Project Manager 1-877-464-9675 x 74158