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NEWS RELEASE: Expanding Access to Broadband in Wellington County

 

NEWS RELEASE

Expanding Access to Broadband in Wellington County

Faster, Reliable Internet will Create Jobs and Economic Growth in Rural and Remote Ontario

January 28, 2021

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


WELLINGTON COUNTY – Today, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced that residents in 674 homes in Wellington County now have access to fast, reliable internet service, thanks to the construction of up to $2.7 million in broadband infrastructure in the community.

Both levels of government each committed more than $900,000 to the project 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 Governments also announced the beginning of construction of up to $1.0 million in broadband infrastructure to connect 283 more homes and businesses in Eden Mills to fast, reliable internet. Both levels of government have each committed up to $270,000 to this project.

The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Wellington 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. “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.”

“It’s a pleasure to announce that the construction of broadband infrastructure in the communities of Ariss, Ponsonby, and Inverhaugh is now complete, and folks in the community of Eden Mills will soon have access to fast, reliable internet service with the beginning of construction of broadband infrastructure in that community,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This is an important step forward in our plan to deliver broadband that supports better educational opportunities, attracts more businesses and create jobs in Wellington County. It’s extremely important that we continue to expand broadband connectivity for those living in rural and remote areas.”

“Working with our municipal colleagues for many years, we’ve been pushing for reliable, affordable high-speed Internet for our rural communities,” said Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott. “The pandemic has shown that Internet is essential infrastructure. We appreciate every step forward to connect our farms and rural residents.”

“SWIFT is proud of the meaningful work that is being accomplished in Wellington County to improve access to high-speed internet.  Projects are now rolling out at an accelerated rate to bring residents online as quick as possible,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. “Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ensuring equitable access to high-speed internet across our region. We are thankful for the ongoing support we have received from the governments of Ontario and Canada, as we continue to work together to deliver long-term sustainable broadband solutions to further support our rural communities in Southwestern Ontario.”

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.


Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • 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 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.

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