A call for projects was launched last week by the gouvernement du Québec to improve the Internet accessibility in the rural regions across the province. This $100-million program, entitled “Régions branchées”, aims to support digital infrastructure projects in the regions, in order to offer citizens, businesses and organizations a reliable and high quality high-speed Internet service at competitive prices, comparable to the services offered in urban areas." The program should also provide broadband Internet access to more than 70,000 homes and thousands businesses across Quebec.
The President and Regional Spokesperson of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, Jacques Demers, introduced the launch of this call for projects: “The launch of the Régions branchées’ call for projects marks the first step in fulfilling the government’s commitment to ensuring broadband Internet access in all regions in Quebec.”
The region that are only partially served by a high-speed Internet service will take priority in the call for projects, since these regions were not eligible under the previous government incentive (Québec branché), and will opted out of the next call for projects from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the federal government. “Many regions of Quebec are obligated to endure a uneducated service,” according to the press release issued by the Ministère de l’Économie. MRC’s, school boards and band councils may also propose projects in collaboration with recognized Internet service provider.
“In 2019, broadband Internet is an essential service to the development of a strong regional economy and the vitality of our communities,” said the ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale et ministre responsable de la région de la Mauricie, Jean Boulet. Given the scarcity of workers and the rural flight, which affect many regions including the Mauricie, it is essential to put everything we can in our favor to encourage workers in rurals regions which will favor young retention, by offering access to this essential service to all citizens, businesses and organizations."
It should be noted that the Québec government plans to invest $400 million over the next few years. This program has three components:
• The call for ’’Régions branchées’’ projects, which is now launched, autonomously, by the Quebec government;
• The call for projects announced in the last federal budget, which will be joint effort by the Quebec and federal government;
• To support applicants who submit projects under the CRTC’s Call for Projects, announced in 2019.
The Guide and Registration Form for the Régions branchées Project Call is available on the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation’s Web site. Applications will be accepted until November 18, 2019.
Remember that, according to CRTC standards, high-speed Internet access is at least 50 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per second upload.