Broadband Contracts Signed in Waterloo RegionPublished on December 22, 2020
Faster, Reliable Internet will Create Jobs and Economic Growth in Rural and Remote Ontario
December 21, 2020
WATERLOO REGION - Today, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced that construction of up to $11.6 million in broadband infrastructure in Waterloo Region will move forward, connecting more than 1,000 more homes and businesses to fast, reliable internet. All contracts are now signed in Waterloo Region through the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project.
Both levels of government have each committed up to $3.9 million and internet service providers will contribute nearly $3.9 million, to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of Southwestern Ontario through an improved, modern broadband network.
Construction of the network is scheduled to start as early as April 2021 and will be completed with service available by July 2022. The projects will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in the townships of Wellesley, North Dumfries, Wilmot and Woolwich.
"Long before COVID-19, we knew that broadband connectivity was essential to Canada's success. The pandemic has driven us to move even faster to reach our goals," said Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Newfoundland and Labrador, on behalf of Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. "More than ever, Canadians are relying on internet to access essential services, working from home and connecting with their loved ones. Today's important investment will help connect approximately 1000 more homes and businesses in the Region of Waterloo to the high-speed internet they need. We will continue to work with government and community partners at every level to help get every Canadian connected, no matter where they live. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this project by SWIFT!"
"The signing of these contracts in Waterloo Region is a crucial step forward in our plan to deliver broadband that supports better educational opportunities, will help attract more businesses and create local jobs," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "It is imperative that we expand connectivity to our rural and remote areas as the internet has become a critical tool that is used in almost every aspect of life."
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.
- 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 4, 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.