Delivering high speed internet to more people in Southwestern Ontario
Delivering high-speed internet to more people in Southwestern Ontario
Expanding Broadband Access in Bruce-Grey-Huron
OWEN SOUND – Today, Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey, and Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce on behalf of Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a major step in the expanding of broadband internet in Bruce, Grey, and Huron Counties with the Request for Proposals (RFP) by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc.
This program is part of the government’s commitment to expanding access to broadband internet in rural areas and makes way for up to $36.8 million in broadband infrastructure expansion.
“This is terrific news for residents in the rural areas of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. Through this investment, we can continue to take steps to bridge the digital divide and improve quality of life for our local residents,” said MPP Bill Walker. “COVID-19 has reminded us how critical reliable broadband is to work, learn, and connect with friends and family.”
“This is indeed welcome news to rural residents in Huron-Bruce, especially during the pandemic,” said Thompson. “Minister Hardeman and his team have been working hard to bring high-speed internet to our area and we are seeing the fruits of that work.”
“Without a doubt, this is a difficult time for all Canadians. Access to services, opportunities to connect in isolation, and telework depend on access to high-speed internet. That’s why our government’s investments to date are connecting a million households in Canada. SWIFT is one of the hundreds of our partner organizations that are working hard to connect Canadians. We are proud of partnerships like these that allow for this work to move ahead,” said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.
“At a time when people have become more dependent than ever on broadband, having access to high-speed internet is critical,” said Allan Thompson, SWIFT Board Member and the Chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association. “SWIFT, together with our community leaders and local service providers, is committed to bringing Southwestern Ontario’s underserviced communities online and high-speed internet access to thousands. Today, as a result of our public-private partnerships, SWIFT is proud to announce that many more homes and businesses in Bruce, Grey, and Huron Counties will soon have greater access to reliable internet services.”
The RFP for Grey County closes on July 10th, Bruce County closes on August 21st and Huron County to close on December 4th. Contracts will be awarded, and service provider agreements put in place shortly the RFPs close.
The Ontario government recognizes how important rural broadband access is for individuals, families, and businesses. Work continues toward bridging the gaps in broadband access in Southwestern Ontario, as part of a combined $190 million investment to bring fast, reliable internet to thousands of homes and businesses
Creating more ways to strengthen rural economies is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario together. Reliable and affordable broadband internet will allow communities to attract new development, strengthen local economies, and create more well-paying jobs and opportunities in rural Ontario.
- As part of this investment, a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to $36.8 million in broadband infrastructure were issued in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties.
- SWIFT Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario that will support the critical expansion of broadband to underserved areas.
- The Ontario government’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan is expected to generate up to $1 billion in total investment over five years, resulting in new connections for up to 220,000 homes and businesses. This will lead to community, social and economic benefits well beyond the provincial investment.