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10/11/2020 02:05:25  

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says its government is now on track to connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2026. CBC.ca reports: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a handful of cabinet ministers held a news conference in Ottawa to launch the $1.75 billion universal broadband fund -- a program unveiled in the federal government's 2019 budget and highlighted on the campaign trail and in September's throne speech. Most of the money was announced in last year's budget. "We were ready to go in March with the new Universal Broadband Fund and then the pandemic hit," Rural Economic Development Minister Maryam Monsef told reporters. The prime minister said the government is now on track to connect 98 per cent of Canadians to high-speed by 2026 -- an increase over the previously promised 95 per cent benchmark -- and to link up the rest by 2030. About $150 million from the fund will be freed up to fund projects aimed at getting communities connected by next fall. Senior officials with the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until Jan. 15, 2021, with a goal of having projects completed by mid-November, 2021. Deciding who gets upgraded connectivity first will depend on the service providers applying, they said. The prime minister said the government also has reached a $600 million agreement with Telesat for satellite capacity to improve broadband service in remote areas and in the North.

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