Proposed legislative amendments to the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021 included in the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022
Bill or Act:
Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021
Summary of Decision:
The Getting Ontario Connected Act received Royal Assent on April 14, 2022. The Getting Ontario Connected Act amends the Building Broadband Faster Act and the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act. Amendments to the Building Broadband Faster Act came into effect upon Royal Assent. Amendments to Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, were posted on the regulatory registry separately.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The legislative amendments to the BBFA would only apply to designated broadband projects who are seeking approvals from local authorities or who require infrastructure data from other parties. As such, they are expected to have a limited impact on regulated entities, including municipalities, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Ontario One Call members and electric utilities. They would also be time-limited as they are anticipated to last until the end of 2025 when all designated broadband projects are expected to be complete.
The amendments to the BBFA are expected to have minimal direct compliance and administrative costs. Affected parties may be required to become familiar with requirements, the Broadband One Window platform, and meet the service standard timeline. However, a Technical Assistance Team (TAT) is being established to support municipalities and other sectors to help meet these new requirements.
There would also be significant benefits. Faster access to connectivity for households and businesses across Ontario would benefit all sectors and populations, and support the government's goal of achieving 100 per cent connectivity by the end of 2025. As well, the Ministry of Infrastructure is continuing to work with stakeholder groups and Infrastructure Ontario to develop the TAT for spring 2022. The TAT would be established to provide support to broadband stakeholders.
March 8, 2022
Summary of Proposal:
The government committed to connecting every region in Ontario to reliable, high-speed internet by the end of 2025. Part of this commitment included nearly $4 billion in funding for existing programs, such as the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program, the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project, and a reverse auction aimed to connect the unserved and underserved areas in Ontario.
To help remove barriers and support a more streamlined approach to the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure, in April 2021 the Building Broadband Faster Act was enacted, through the passage of the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 (SBIEA).
In November 2021, the Ministry of Infrastructure released the Building Broadband Faster Act Guideline (Guideline). A Statement of Intent was included as part of the Guideline outlining proposed legislative, regulatory, and non-legislative tools to remove barriers to broadband deployment, and to help ensure the projects are delivered on time.
In line with the Statement of Intent, the government is proposing legislative amendments to the BBFA. The Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022 proposes to reduce barriers and more quickly bring high-speed internet infrastructure to communities across the province.
The proposed legislative amendments to the BBFA would, if passed:
•Require municipalities to meet timelines to respond to right of way permit applications. Municipalities would respond to permit applications using the Broadband One Window (BOW), a digital platform for permit applications they receive through the BOW.
oThe proposed timelines are 10 business days to respond to right of way permits by proponents with projects totaling up to 30 kilometers, and 15 business days to respond for proponents with projects totaling 30 kilometers or more.
•Require utility infrastructure owners to share, with the ministry within 15 business days, data in the requested format regarding infrastructure within 10 meters of a designated broadband project (an online platform called Broadband One Window is being created to facilitate information sharing between parties). When requested, this could apply to the following persons or entities that own infrastructure:
oEvery municipality in Ontario
oHydro One Inc.
oOntario Power Generation
oEvery gas distributor and gas transmitter
oEvery electricity distribution system operator
oEvery entity regulated under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
oEvery person or entity that owns or operates underground infrastructure that crosses a public right of way.
In addition, the government is proposing consequential amendments to the BBFA to align with other legislation and regulations. In particular, the proposed consequential amendments to BBFA would align with the new dedicated locator regime proposed under the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 to support more efficient locates for broadband projects. Per the Statement of Intent, the Minister's authority to issue notices would also be amended to ensure alignment between the BBFA and a proposed regulation under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) that would, among other things, facilitate hydroelectric pole attachment requests.
Together, the proposed amendments to the BBFA under the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022 would, if approved by the Legislature, reduce barriers and support smooth implementation for designated broadband projects.
Ministry of Infrastructure
Strategic Policy and Analytics Branch
777 Bay St
4th Flr Suite 425
ON M5G 2E5
Royal Assent Date:
April 14, 2022