York Region Closing the Digital Divide with Expanded Broadband Services
Municipalities across the province need access to fast, reliable broadband services to help local governments, service providers and local businesses operate efficiently, and to allow residents flexibility to work remotely.
Through its own dark-fibre network, operated and managed by YorkNet, York Region is investing in a multi-year project to grow its fibre network. This growth will enhance the delivery of Regional services such as traffic management, transit systems, water/waste water control management, security monitoring, and emergency services. It will also make online services more readily available to the Region’s 1.2 million residents.
Between 2018 and 2021, York Region expanded broadband services in its nine cities and towns, and installed hundreds of kilometres of dark fibre - a type of fibre-optic cable used to provide high-speed, low-disruption broadband Internet and data transfer. While most of this cable is buried, some is suspended overhead, and some travels underwater in Lake Simcoe.
The Canada Community-Building Fund provided nearly $15 million to support the installation of more than 300 km of network between 2018 and 2021. When construction of the network is complete, an additional 1,152 km of dark fibre will be added, for a total network of 1,605 km.
Since YorkNet began operations in 2018, it has expanded broadband services to 345 Regional and municipal facilities in the communities of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, King, Stouffville, Georgina, Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Newmarket. Additionally, YorkNet has interconnected the Vaughan Cortellucci Hospital in Vaughan and Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, both managed by Mackenzie Health with their own fibre connectivity. YorkNet also connects Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket to the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical (ORION) Network.
The connectivity advancements made by YorkNet improve and optimize travel for everyone who uses the Region’s roads. It enables services like digital signage at the Region’s bus stops and supports intuitive technology to some of the Region’s 870 traffic controls. These are just a few of the ways drivers, first responders, public transit operators, road maintenance crews and pedestrians are all getting to where they are going safely and efficiently. YorkNet’s dark fibre network also facilitates the ability for Internet Services Providers to connect to the network to support citizens and businesses by providing them with high-speed internet.
York Region’s investments have helped close the digital divide by providing equitable broadband services to the entire region.