Next Generation Network Program (NGNP)

The Next Generation Network Program (NGNP) supports the development and implementation of ultra-high-speed digital infrastructure to interconnect digital innovation hubs within Ontario, support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) proof-of-concept projects and access technical and business support personnel and services.

The program is offered through a partnership between the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) and OCE, working on behalf of the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Including matching industry and partner contributions, this program represents an investment of more than $115 million.

The NGNP offers unprecedented access to the CENGN testbed to ensure that Ontario SMEs, start-ups and researchers have access to industry guidance and knowledge along with a multi-vendor, open-platform for validation of their technologies and services. The CENGN testbed will provide a platform for industry collaboration and connectivity in ICT and Next Generation Networking development that will facilitate and accelerate innovation projects across Ontario.

The NGNP will also work with Digital Innovation Hubs across the province, assisting about 150 SMEs to grow and succeed.

NGNP aims not only to support current and future SMEs but to help establish the digital backbone for the innovation-driven economy that will drive future growth, create high-quality jobs, and enhance Ontario’s global competitiveness.

The NGN Demonstration Program is designed to support Ontario based small and medium size (SME) companies to use the CENGN testbed to further develop proof-of-concept or demonstrations that could lead to new technologies, products, processes and services.  Funding is available for standalone SME projects or SME collaborations with industry partners and/or public sector organizations such as municipalities, healthcare facilities, and public utilities.  Proof-of-concept project activities can include, but are not limited to, technology adoption demonstration, start-up or scale-up support, prototyping, product testing and applied research and development ("R&D"). 

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The Next Generation Networking Talent Development stream has been designed to curate the next generation of highly skilled talent for the digital economy sector. Internships support students and recent graduates of Ontario universities and colleges working with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to develop their skills in NGN technologies. Projects will tap into world-class talent coming out of Ontario's publicly-funded post-secondary institutions and strengthen the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises to develop new products, services, and processes in the digital economy. Internships are intended to provide interns with an experiential learning opportunity and hands-on industry experience.

Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises may apply for internships through the following options:

  • lnternships at SMEs: provides funding for company-based interns working directly for an SME that is developing NGN technologies and services, preferably using the CENGN platform
  • lnternships at SMEs as part of a Demonstration Project: provides funding for company-based interns working on projects related to NGN technologies and services
    • While completing a Demonstration Project application, applicant SMEs may also request funding to hire an Intern to work at the SME, who will support the delivery of key milestones directly linked to the proposed Demonstration project. For more details refer to the Demonstration program guidelines.

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The NGNP will include projects that focus on identifying next generation network technologies and solutions that can be utilized to expand broadband Internet connectivity in rural Ontario and Northern Ontario.

More information on Rural and Northern Ontario Support can be found on CENGN's website.

SMEs can apply under the Proof of Concept / Demonstration Project Program to use the CENGN testbed for applications that are Smart Agriculture- or Smart Mining-focused. This stream is expected to support projects that increase innovation and competitiveness in the agriculture and mining sectors and includes the development of specialized infrastructure to support projects in these areas.

More information on Smart Agriculture and Smart Mining can be found on CENGN's website

Participating in a NGNP project, a partnership between OCE and CENGN, SMEs have the opportunity to leverage the services and support from Digital Innovation Hubs located across the province. Below are highlights from the three hubs, each showcasing their services and two successful SME projects.