Broadband in Northumberland

High-speed internet connectivity (broadband) is a linchpin to local economic recovery from COVID-19 and to fostering a thriving and inclusive community. In Northumberland County, as with many rural communities, gaps in high-speed availability and capacity remain due to complex infrastructure requirements. This issue is a priority for Northumberland County and the seven lower-tier area municipalities, and was also identified as a priority through the industry-led COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force recommendations.

The County and lower-tier municipalities are working with federal and provincial government partners and Internet Service Providers to identify solutions to improve connectivity in our community. Addressing broadband challenges is a key action item under the County's 2019 Digital Strategy

Internet services

In Canada, the federal government regulates and oversees telecommunications companies and the sector, with internet services provided by private sector businesses. Internet Service Providers invest in building the necessary infrastructure to enable connectivity, and then recover their costs over time through fees paid by their customers. In more rural areas, where there is a low density of potential customers to cover the costs of infrastructure investments, there are currently gaps in service availability. 

Government and Non-profit-led investments

Universal access to broadband is a priority for all levels of government.

  • Federal: the Government of Canada has several programs supporting high-speed Internet access for all Canadians, especially in rural and remote communities. The government's goal is to connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026, an increase from the previous commitment of 95% of Canadians in Canada's Connectivity Strategy, and all Canadians by 2030.
  • Provincial: The Province's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan has committed $315 million of investments that have the potential, with partner funding from private sector and other levels of government, to result in up to $1 billion in broadband infrastructure investments. The province will continue to invest in broadband and cellular initiatives as a funding partner while working closely with the federal government, as the regulator. 
  • Regional: In Eastern Ontario, significant federal, provincial and municipal investments through Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) initiatives have resulted in increased connectivity in the region. EORN is a non-profit organization, created by the Eastern Ontario Warden's Caucus, that is dedicated to improving rural connectivity. EORN is currently spearheading the Cellular Network Gap and Mobile Broadband Improvement Project to expand cell service and cell data coverage across the region in collaboration with government and private sector partners, including capacity to support the use of typical smartphone apps and streaming video.  

Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) project

On March 8, 2021, Canada's Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) announced the launch of an innovative project that will bring high-performance broadband access to the Shelter Valley Road region of Alnwick/Haldimand Township. Northumberland County and the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand are pleased to partner with CENGN on this project to test and demonstrate new technology solutions to extend high-speed internet service delivery to unserved and underserved communities.  

What is the CENGN project?

  • Northumberland County and the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand are pleased to partner with CENGN on a project to test and demonstrate new technology solutions to extend high-speed internet service delivery to unserved and underserved communities.
  • Through this project, service provider Algonquin Fiber will make cost effective fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) internet services available to approximately 150 homes in the Shelter Valley Road area of the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand beginning in the summer of 2021.
  • Key learnings from this project will help to define new solutions for high speed connectivity for similar communities in rural Ontario and across the province.

Why is this project focused on rural communities?

  • With the increasing demand for real-time video, voice-over-IP communications, tele-medicine, distance-learning, and home-based on-line businesses, there is an increasing need for broadband internet support to the home infrastructure that can meet these needs. However, the business case for getting broadband internet services into smaller rural communities is very difficult since the population density is very low, and the size of the resident populations is often well below 1000 residents. 
  • The CENGN project seeks to demonstrate technology and/or business case innovation through a cost-effective, high-resilience solution to create a model for providing cost-effective internet services to other unserved or underserved communities across the province.

Why was the Shelter Valley Road area selected for this project?

  • In the fall of 2020, CENGN put out a call to partner with communities to test and demonstrate new technology solutions for extending high performance internet services into rural communities. Specifically, this project would focus on delivering internet services to valley communities – geography that typically represents a barrier to internet service delivery.
  • The project would test new technology in a small area in order to develop a scalable model for providing cost-effective internet services to other valley communities across the province.
  • Northumberland County partnered with Alnwick/Haldimand to advance the Shelter Valley Road area for this project, as an area meeting the necessary specifications. 

What does ‘high performance’ internet services mean?

 A requirement of this project is for the service provider to deliver lower-cost, higher performance residential broadband technology to rural areas. The solution must meet or exceed the capacity to provide 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload performance per residence – the minimum standard set by the CRTC. 

Who is the service provider for this project?

Internet Service Provider Algonquin Fiber was selected through the CENGN ‘Request for Solution’ process to be the service provider for this project. 

What is the specific area covered by this project?

  •  Supported by CENGN program funding, Algonquin Fibre will install over 16km of fibre along:
    • Shelter Valley Road
    • Vernonville Road, and
    • East along Dudley Road to Purdy Corners.
  • Approximately 150 homes will have access to cost-effective fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services.  

When will this service be available?

 Service rollout will start in the summer of 2021, with full service beginning in the fall of 2021.

How can I sign up to access this service?

Algonquin Fibre will reach out to each eligible home with subscription information in the coming months. 

How is this project being funded?

CENGN will invest up to $500,000, to be matched by the service provider, representing an up to $1 million-dollar investment in the community.

Northumberland Broadband Strategy

Recognizing that broadband connectivity in Northumberland remains a challenge, Northumberland County is in the process of finalizing a Broadband Strategy that will identify roles it can take, as a public sector organization, to more directly support both community-based and business-based broadband improvements in our municipalities. This includes forming partnerships with private sector entities and pursuing government funding opportunities in 2021 to build infrastructure and services that will expand high-speed internet access in underserved and unserved areas of the county.

In 2020, Northumberland County also supported several funding proposals submitted by Internet Service Providers to other levels of government to build infrastructure and enhance service in different areas of the community (specifics of these applications are not yet available to the public while in the application stage).

Updates on progress in these areas will be shared before the end of 2021.   

Take our internet speed test

Northumberland County is gathering data about the state of local internet access, as we continue to look for opportunities to improve local broadband. Help us get accurate internet speed data by taking the internet speed test linked below. 

Information you will need to complete the speed test

  • A valid email address for follow-up purposes if confirmation of speed test results are required — under no circumstances will your email address be used for marketing or solicitation purposes
  • Your postal code and the civic number of your address to pinpoint the location of your service
  • The download and upload speeds as promised by your internet service provider, as well as the name of the service provider

How this information will be used

 This information will be used to:

  • Assist interested internet service providers as they plan deployments in Northumberland
  • Inform Northumberland County as we aim to address unserved or underserved areas

When to complete the speed test

Please complete the speed test at each of the three different times listed below:
  • Once between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Once between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Once between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Thank you for participating in this data gathering exercise.

Begin Test

Find an internet provider for your home or business

To see which internet service providers may be available in your area, please enter your address in the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map provided by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.