We recently wrote about how in the United States the FCC awarded a staggering $9.2 billion from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to bring high-speed internet to underserved communities and regions across the U.S.

In Canada, it’s the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) that’s driving major expansions of high-speed internet infrastructure across the country. If you’re a Canadian integrator or electrical contractor, the UBF isn’t just a big opportunity to create lots of new projects. It’s also an opportunity to bring broadband and fiber to homes in a thoughtful way that truly looks to the future.

What is the UBF?

The UBF is a multi-year project established by the federal government. Its objective is to provide all Canadians with access to broadband internet and mobile wireless services—regardless of their location.

Over the course of the project, the UBF is expected to award up to $2.75 billion to providers to achieve this goal. Part of the UBF also includes a Rapid Response Stream, which has already awarded $150 million to providers to tackle a variety of network improvement projects that can be completed quickly.

Why is the UBF Important?

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become abundantly clear that access to reliable, high-speed internet is an absolute necessity for everyone, whether they’re a student, tech worker or a retiree.

From remote working to virtual medical appointments, more and more aspects of everyday life are moving online. And for those in rural communities without access to broadband this has become a major issue.

Through the UBF, high-speed internet access of at least 50/Mbps will be brought to rural and remote communities across the country.

Key considerations for UBF Providers, Integrators, and Electrical Contractors

As funds from the UBF get awarded and projects get rolled out, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that broadband and FTTH networking shouldn’t stop at the door. Simply bringing high-speed internet access to rural and remote homes is a major step forward in itself, to be sure, but the homes of today and tomorrow require more.

As the number of connected devices in the average home rises and the bandwidth demands on home networks grow, it’s important for those broadband and fiber connections to be thoughtfully brought into and distributed throughout the home via dedicated media panels and Ethernet access points.

As providers and integrators deploy their projects to bring broadband to underserved Canadian communities, they should be including structured wiring and Ethernet access points in their plans, as homes with these in place are more future-ready than those with a single access point.