28 September 2020
Dufferin-Caledon: MPP Sylvia Jones and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman hosted a zoom meeting today to announce that Canada and Ontario are delivering on their commitment to create even more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the province through an improved, modern broadband network in Southwestern Ontario.
Today, the province celebrated the final contract to be signed in Dufferin-Caledon, through the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project, ensuring that construction of up to $16.6 million in broadband infrastructure in Dufferin County and the Town of Caledon will now move forward.
The contracts to expand high-speed fibre-optic broadband services in Dufferin-Caledon County were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario.
“We invested to connect nearly 400,000 households by 2023 through the Connect to Innovate program,” said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Work is underway every day and in the next 18 months, we will connect 250,000 of these households. Our ambitious plan is working because we are working with our partners at the community level. We are about to open new calls for proposals to connect 100% of Canada’s communities to reliable, quality internet access. Our number one goal over the coming months will be supporting high quality plans and applications from every community who needs better access. Together, with partners like those involved here in Dufferin County and the Town of Caledon, we will achieve universal internet access so that geography does not determine any Canadian’s access to essential services, working from home and connecting with their loved ones. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this project by SWIFT!”
“Our government is committed to expanding broadband internet access across Ontario and today’s contract signing will help bring that to the people of Dufferin County and the Town of Caledon,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This investment goes a long way to creating new economic opportunities in the region and allows businesses to better compete in global markets.”
“For many years I have been working with the County of Dufferin and the Town of Caledon for an expansion of high-speed internet to address the need in our rural communities. Access to internet services is essential for businesses, home-based businesses, individuals working from home and students who are studying at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this need,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin-Caledon. “I am very pleased that the contracts are signed and we are moving forward with solutions for Dufferin-Caledon residents who need reliable access to high speed internet at home.”
“At a time when people have become more dependent than ever on broadband, having access to high-speed internet is critical,” said Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson. “Today, as result of a private- public partnership and the strong support from Dufferin Caledon MPP Hon. Sylvia Jones, the Federal and Provincial Governments, many more homes and businesses in Caledon will soon have greater access to reliable internet services.”
“As Vice Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus and Warden of the County of Dufferin, I’ve know for a long time the game changer that robust broadband internet can be. It can change your economy and give business and residents the flexibility to adapt quickly, and to pivot successfully and can broaden their ability to better support themselves,” said Warden Darren White. “I’m excited today to be able to announce that investment in Dufferin County with 5 individual projects will represent more than 10.3 million dollars of new infrastructure.
I’m so grateful to have government partners at both the federal and provincial levels that understand not only the challenges, but also the dedication that we all have to get the issue fixed.”
“Increasing access to high-speed broadband service is critical to getting our economy back on track,” says SWIFT Board Chair, David Mayberry. “With the support of the government of Ontario and Canada and in partnership with our municipal leaders we are working together to deliver long-term sustainable broadband solutions to support the economic growth and prosperity of our communities across Southwestern Ontario.”
The governments of Canada and Ontario recognize how important rural broadband access is for individuals, families and businesses. Work continues to bridge 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.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are each contributing more than $63 million to SWIFT through the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – Small Communities Fund of the Investing in Canada
- 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.
- The Ontario government will continue to expand access to broadband and cellular service through the Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON). This multi-year program aims to support approved projects as early as 2021.