Broadband and Cellular Expansion Projects

NOHFC support for broadband and cellular expansion projects is intended to address broadband gaps in northern Ontario by increasing connectivity for unserved or underserved areas.

Who is Eligible?

  • Municipalities, municipal organizations, Indigenous Communities, and Community- based-networks or ICT community champions (not-for-profit economic development / innovation centres) in Northern Ontario.
  • Eligible NOHFC broadband projects are those projects that have applied to and have been declined funding under other Ontario infrastructure programs, including the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program administered by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) and/or do not meet the eligibility requirements.

What projects are Eligible?

  • Projects that improve broadband and cellular coverage to areas with broadband download speeds of less than 25 megabits per second (mbps) (un-served or under-served areas).
  • Projects must deliver a minimum of 25 mbps to consumers at a cost comparable to cost paid by the nearest urban consumer.
  • Projects that expand cellular coverage along the Trans-Canada and King’s Highways.
  • A minimum of 85 % of eligible costs must be broadband or cellular-related capital and equipment costs (i.e. towers, antennas, electronics, and site buildings).

Evaluation Criteria

  • Demonstrate that all reasonable attempts have been made to obtain funding under the ICON program and/or other funding sources (i.e., federal, municipal and private sector).
  • Preference will be given to projects that have confirmed all sources of funding.
  • Preference will be given to projects that deliver 50 mbps and/or are scalable to 50 mbps.
  • Preference will be given to projects that deliver services that offer the lowest cost per customer served.
  • Preference will be given to cellular projects that offer improved service (e.g., larger coverage area) and roaming on other networks.
  • Proposed broadband/cellular projects should demonstrate improved connectivity and usage of information technology to support the competitiveness of existing and new businesses and address gaps in broadband connectivity or increases bandwidth availability and affordability.


Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution, and will support the following:

  • Fifty (50) % of eligible costs up to a maximum of $1 million dollars per project with a targeted funding of $500 per dwelling (average) within the coverage area. This cost per dwelling may need to be exceeded in areas where the backhaul network cannot support target speeds; however, it cannot be used to overbuild network solutions.
  • Projects that deliver 50 mbps or greater will be considered up to $1,500 per dwelling.

Program Requirements

  • The maximum amount of funding from all government sources will not exceed 90%.
  • A copy of a map and identification of property defining the geographic coverage of cellular or broadband projects must be provided with the proposal to NOHFC.
  • Applicants must provide an overview of the network design to demonstrate that it can support the delivery of speeds to customers as outlined in applications.


Q: Do I have to apply to other broadband programs before applying to NOHFC?


A: Yes. You must apply to other available infrastructure programs and be declined or provide a detailed explanation why the project was ineligible to apply.