Ottawa’s Telesat signs $600 million deal to help deliver universal internet across Canada


Feds are investing $1.75 billion to help connect Canadians to high-speed Internet

OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 9, 2020 /CNW/ – Over the past months, many Canadians have worked from home, taken classes, shopped online, and accessed government services remotely. The global COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for all Canadians to access fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live.

Telesat and the Government of Canada announced today the completion of their agreement to ensure affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity across all of Canada with Telesat’s advanced, state-of-the-art Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change highlighted an agreement of $600 million with Canadian satellite company Telesat to secure low-earth-orbit satellite capacity, which will improve connectivity and expand high-speed Internet coverage to rural and remote regions across Canada.

Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2019, this $600M (CAD) agreement enables Internet and mobility service providers to acquire Telesat LEO capacity at substantially reduced rates to bring universal broadband connectivity to rural, Northern and Indigenous communities across Canada. Telesat will be eligible to receive amounts under the agreement over a ten year period once the Telesat LEO constellation enters service.

“Telesat LEO will transform connectivity in Canada, and this agreement will bring affordable enterprise grade, high-speed connectivity to underserved Canadians no matter where they live and work,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “We applaud the Government of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for leveraging revolutionary technologies like Telesat LEO to drive widespread social and economic benefits. We look forward to working with Canadian service providers to provide this capacity to qualified communities across the country to get all Canadians connected as soon as possible.”

Telesat saleite dishes on Unwin Avenue by Leslie spit. photo by George Socka wikicommons

Also, Wilkinson, highlighted the federal government’s total investment of $1.75 billion to help connect Canadians to high-speed Internet across the country. Originally announced in Budget 2019 as a $1 billion program, the Government is now providing additional funding to advance large, high-impact projects, which will leverage partnerships including with the Canada Infrastructure Bank broadband initiative. The program will include a $150M Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. The UBF will also allocate $50 million of its total budget for mobile Internet projects that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples. This investment will help connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026 so that they can better participate in the digital economy.

“High-speed Internet access is more than just a convenience. The Universal Broadband Fund will help bridge the digital divide and allow all Canadians to take advantage of online services including telework, virtual health care, e-learning opportunities, and everything in between,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Today’s announcement takes a giant step toward improving connectivity across Canada,” added Wilkinson.

Today’s investments will help make progress on the Government of Canada’s commitment to create over one million jobs, and its work to support Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern communities. As we take steps toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to make investments in infrastructure to build strong communities and a more competitive and resilient Canada for everyone.

The Government of Canada has already made significant progress toward the goal of connecting Canadians to high-speed internet. In British Columbia, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $89,456,649 in 20 projects, which will connect 28,363 households.

About Telesat

Telesat has grown to be one of the largest and most successful global satellite operators. Telesat works collaboratively with its customers to deliver critical connectivity solutions that tackle the world’s most complex communications challenges, providing powerful advantages that improve their operations and drive growth. Telesat LEO, a Low Earth Orbit network, will revolutionize global broadband connectivity by delivering a combination of high capacity, security, resiliency and affordability with ultra-low latency and fibre-like speeds.

Telesat is privately held and headquartered in Ottawa, with offices and facilities around the world. Telesat’s principal shareholders are Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LORL). For more information, visit

lead photo Telesat Canada ANIK C-3 communications satellite rises from its protective cradle (obscured by another such device in the foreground) in the cargo bay of Columbia. Both orbital maneuvering system pods, part of the vertical tail and part of the wing stand out in this photo. wikicommons

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