12 February 2021
Dufferin-Caledon: 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.
Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph, and MPP Sylvia Jones, on behalf of Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, this week announced the beginning of construction of up to $10.4 million in broadband infrastructure to connect 1,663 more homes and businesses in Dufferin County to fast, reliable internet.
The Governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed up to $2.4 million to projects that will create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of Southwestern Ontario through an improved, modern broadband internet network.
The first project is valued at $829,000 and will deliver reliable internet access to 301 homes and businesses in the community of Mansfield. Construction of the infrastructure is expected to be complete with full service available by March of 2022.
The contracts to expand high-speed fibre-optic broadband services in Dufferin 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.
“I have been a long-time advocate for universal internet access and through this investment, I am happy to see that we are one step closer to achieving this goal,” said Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “I am proud of the work our government has done, in collaboration with our partners, to work towards our goal of ensuring all Canadian homes and businesses across Canada are connected and have access to high-speed internet. It is our government’s priority for each and every Canadian to have quick, reliable internet service, so that they may have access to essential services that are critical to ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of their families.”
“The beginning of construction of broadband infrastructure in Dufferin County is an important step forward in our plan to deliver broadband that supports better educational opportunities, attracts more businesses and creates jobs,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “It’s essential that we continue to expand access to broadband internet in our rural and remote areas, because the internet has become a vital tool for use by residents and businesses on a daily basis.”
“At a time when people are depending more on broadband and having access to high-speed internet, I am pleased to see the construction phase begin in Dufferin County,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP Dufferin-Caledon. “Our government is committed to expanding broadband internet access and these two projects getting started will increase access to reliable internet services for many households in our community.”
“In a time when access to fast and dependable connectivity is more important than ever, SWIFT is pleased to announce construction is now underway to bring high-speed internet services to many more residents and businesses in Dufferin County,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. “We would like to thank the governments of Ontario and Canada for the ongoing support, as we continue to work together to expand broadband services across Southwestern Ontario to further support and drive economic development throughout our region.”
Work continues to bridge the gaps in broadband access in Southwestern Ontario, as part of a combined federal – provincial investment of more than $191 million to bring fast, reliable and affordable internet to thousands of homes and businesses. This 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 plan.
- The Ontario government is making a historic investment of nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access across the province. On November 4th, 2020, Ontario announced $680 million on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding will create jobs and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond.
- The Ontario government will continue to expand access to broadband and cellular service through the Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON). It has doubled its investment in the program to $300 million. This multi-year program aims to support approved projects as early as 2021.
- Expanding access to broadband is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government.