GFM Network News


Federal irrigation pledge seen flowing mainly to Prairies

Infrastructure plan also includes promised broadband support

Prairie provinces will receive the bulk of Ottawa’s $1.5 billion commitment to support irrigation projects, according to federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday launched a three-year, $10 billion infrastructure plan aimed at five different sectors, including agriculture. The $1.5 billion is expected to result in 700,000 acres of irrigated land. […] Read more

Throne speech commits to rural broadband improvement

Rural health care, water management also on deck

The federal minority Liberal government is promising job creation, better rural internet access and a commitment to combating climate change in its newly revealed legislative plans. In an ambitious throne speech delivered Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party committed itself to implementing universal child care and extending or enhancing many of the economic measures put […] Read more


Pandemic may strain rural community resources, panel warns

Enthusiasm for telecommuting could later benefit rural areas, if 'digital divide' can be bridged

The COVID-19 pandemic, and Canada’s response to it, have highlighted how rural communities need different strategies than their urban counterparts to provide social services on which the public relies. The Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph hosted a virtual panel in May to discuss COVID-19’s social impacts, in which researchers from a variety […] Read more

An apt symbol of rural internet? An internet tower perched on an old wooden grain elevator in Onoway, Alta.

Pandemic pushes rural internet speeds to the breaking point

Notoriously slow already, rural internet has struggled with increased demand during the pandemic — and that isn’t likely to change any time soon

The internet on Monika Benoit’s northern Alberta farm was bad enough before the pandemic. Now it’s almost “non-existent.” “We sigh a lot,” said Benoit, who farms with husband Mike near High Prairie. “Even when there’s not a pandemic, we have internet issues. But with the isolation and social distancing protocols we’re supposed to be following, […] Read more


NYC equity firm to buy Xplornet

New investment expected to speed up rural broadband rollouts

A Manhattan private equity firm deep in “middle-market infrastructure” has committed to buy, and help improve service from, Canada’s single biggest rural broadband provider. New Brunswick-based, privately held Xplornet Communications announced Thursday it has signed a deal to sell majority control itself to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The two companies’ announcement didn’t put a dollar figure […] Read more



New rules on passive investment arrive in budget

It’s got no new nuggets specifically for crop or livestock producers, but Tuesday’s federal budget includes the end results of last year’s consultations — and backlash — on corporate taxation. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s 2018 budget proposes a couple of new limits on Canadian-controlled private corporations’ (CCPC) ability to benefit from a lower tax rate […] Read more

CRTC makes broadband a basic service

Gatineau | Reuters — Broadband internet access will be considered a basic service in Canada, the country’s telecom regulator said Wednesday, setting a higher target for download speeds and creating a fund that could see providers paying more to help meet those goals. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said it was establishing a […] Read more


Precision ag tech’s link to broadband under study

Crop growers in southwestern Ontario are being asked how their access to high-speed internet, or lack thereof, has helped or hindered their adoption of precision ag tools. Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), as part of the Regional and Rural Broadband (R2B2) project, are studying how “current and future connectivity” influences […] Read more