Stage 1 applications for the first intake under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) have started.
Ontario set aside $150M for ICON which is the province’s program to improve and expand broadband and cellular infrastructure in Ontario. One of the objectives of the program is to fund broadband projects that could provide speeds of at least 50 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up for end users.
The first stage of the program lays down several requirements for funding. Among the important requirements to be eligible for funding is that the entity should be incorporated in Canada and that the project is located in an area of need.
According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 98% of households in Ontario have access to at least 5 Mbps. From that, about 88% of households in the province have access to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds so the government’s investment in improving broadband and cellular connectivity is targeting the remaining 12% of households in the province that have yet to get access to these higher speeds.
Potential Market in Ontario for Canadian WISPs
2016 Census Data for Ontario says there are 5,169,175 households in the province. Based on that figure, there are 620,301 households that have yet to enjoy access to the 50/10 broadband speeds. This represents a market size for WISPs in Canada that wishes to help the provincial government achieve its goal of improving Internet access to all of Ontario’s households.
For even more info into the market for WISPs in Ontario, the Ontario Broadband Map could provide more insights into the areas that could be of interest to WISPs. Ontario’s Broadband Map is an interactive tool that shows areas that have access to the higher broadband speeds of 50/10 and more importantly the areas that are underserved.
Deadline for ICON Program
Stage 1 applications for the first intake under the ICON program are due on August 21, 2020. Telecommunication service providers including Canadian WISPs could apply for funding here.