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Millions for internet and cell phone service in rural communities

The provincial government is bringing high-speed internet and better cellphone service to rural and remote communities in Ontario. Premier Doug Ford announced the province's $315 million plan Tuesday in Lucan, Ont.

The province is spending $315M plan is set to improve connectivity for up to 220,000 people

Premier Doug Ford announced a $315M plan to improve internet and cellphone service for the province's rural and remote communities. (Kate Dubinski/CBC)

The provincial government is bringing high-speed internet and better cellphone service to rural and remote communities in Ontario. 

Premier Doug Ford announced the province's $315 million plan Tuesday in Lucan, Ont. The goal is to improve digital connectivity for up to 220,000 homes and businesses in rural communities. 

"For the people in these communities, it's a massive real problem. They're not able to do some of the basic things that most of us take for granted," Premier Ford said at a media event.  

"Things like paying your bills online, watching videos, upgrading job skills from e-learning, or staying in touch with family or loved ones, even making an emergency call from a remote area can be a nightmare if you find yourself in a dead cell zone," he added.  

The plan features a $150 million investment for a new broadband fund which will leverage private sector funding along with support from other levels of government, to drive investment to rural communities. The plan is expected to generate up to $1 billion in total investment over five years, something the province says will result in community, social and economic benefits.

"We're going to make sure no community in Ontario is left behind in the 21st century," Ford said. 

Rural and remote community members have long complained that the lack of connectivity has been a significant barrier to economic development and community success. 

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