New program to build digital infrastructure for Ontario SMEs

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Source: Ontario Centres of Excellence


The Government of Ontario today announced the next step in building the backbone of the innovation-driven economy and future technologies.

The Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS) launched the Next Generation Network Program (NGNP), a $63-million initiative, at an event Thursday in Ottawa. Including matching industry and partner contributions, this program represents a five-year investment of more than $115 million.

The NGNP supports the development and implementation of ultra-high-speed digital infrastructure to interconnect digital innovation hubs within Ontario,support small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) proof-of-concept projects, develop talent, support export development activities and access technical and business support personnel and services.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) will administer the program on behalf of MRIS.

The NGNP offers unprecedented access to the CENGN testbed to ensure that Ontario SMEs, start-ups and researchers have access to next-generation network technology to create, develop, and test new products, processes, and services.

Ontario is home to hundreds of tech-driven SMEs representing thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators, so access to ultra-high-speed networks is vital. The CENGN testbed provides a platform for industry collaboration and connectivity that will facilitate and accelerate innovation projects across Ontario.

The NGNP has several components, with resources dedicated to:

  • Proof-of-concept/demonstration projects, including stand-alone SME projects as well as SME collaborations with industry and public-sector organizations
  • Talent development, including industry training and skills development
  • Rural Ontario & Northern Ontario support to increase broadband Internet connectivity in rural and Northern Ontario
  • Smart mining & smart agriculture, including development of specialized infrastructure to support projects in these sectors
  • Soft-landing program to promote export development activities and access to global markets

The NGNP is part of Ontario's Business Growth Initiative and its broader Innovation Agenda, which was established to drive future economic growth, create high-quality jobs, and enhance Ontario's global competitiveness.

For more information on the Next Generation Network Program, please visit the NGNP website or contact:

Dr. Philippa King, Senior Manager, Digital Economy Technologies, OCE, at 613.726.3430 ext. 4225 or; or Tim Kostyniuk, Senior Director, Digital Economy Technologies, OCE, at 613.726.3430 ext. 4226 or