PomeGran Secures $172M to bring gigabit broadband to Northern Ontario

PomeGran Secures $172M to bring gigabit broadband to Northern Ontario


The initiative includes $97 million in government funding

PomeGran Inc. (PomeGran) has been awarded a US$172 million Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) project aimed at delivering gigabit broadband connectivity to rural and Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario.

The project, officially announced today by The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Canada’s minister of rural economic development, and Amarjot Sandhu, parliamentary assistant to the Ontario minister of infrastructure, marks a significant milestone in bridging the digital divide. This funding, sourced from the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) and Ontario’s Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) programme, highlights a collaborative effort to ensure that high-speed internet reaches underserved areas.

PomeGran, through its subsidiary ROCK Networks, will utilise this funding to construct and operate a state-of-the-art fibre network. This network aims to provide speeds of up to 25 Gbps to 18,663 households, including 2,580 Indigenous households in the Huron Shore and Manitoulin Island region. The expansive project covers a 50,000 square kilometre area, stretching from Lively to Garden River, and including communities such as Elliot Lake, St. Joseph, and Manitoulin Island.

In collaboration with the not-for-profit H&M COFI organisation, PomeGran has engaged with local communities to ensure their needs and voices are considered. The project’s goal is to provide high-speed broadband to homes, businesses, and institutions, thereby enhancing digital access and transforming the region’s digital landscape.

Dr. Kalai S. Kalaichelvan, chairman & CEO of PomeGran, expressed enthusiasm about the project: “Receiving this investment is a significant milestone for PomeGran. It underscores our dedication to bridging the digital divide and ensuring equitable access to high-speed internet in rural and Indigenous communities. This funding will not only connect households but also lay the groundwork for a more connected and prosperous future for all residents.”

Joe Hickey, president of PomeGran, highlighted the strategic importance of the investment: “This strategic investment signifies a crucial step towards achieving Canada’s nationwide connectivity targets. With our commitment to an open access network, it will help foster competition in the market, making high-speed internet more affordable in the region.”

The technological backbone of this project will feature cutting-edge XGS-PON and 25G PON systems, ensuring multi-gigabit broadband for residences and businesses. PomeGran’s advanced fibre technology and outdoor passive fibre infrastructure will deliver high-speed connectivity, scalable to meet future demands.

The federal and provincial funding, part of broader efforts to enhance digital infrastructure, aligns with Canada’s goal to connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2026 and achieve 100% connectivity by 2030. Additionally, PomeGran is investing $75 million through financing partnerships with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and Stonebridge Financial Corporation, further underscoring the collaborative nature of this groundbreaking project.

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