NORFOLK COUNTY – As part of the Ontario government’s plan to connect every community to high speed internet by 2025, more than 2,100 homes, farms and businesses in Norfolk County now have access to high-speed internet service, thanks to the completion of construction on a new $7.67 million broadband infrastructure network in the region.
The completion of this project is helping to ensure that farms and businesses in Wilsonville, Boston, Bealton, Dundurn, Waterford, Townsend Centre, Villa Nova and Bloomsburg have the ability to attract new customers, grow their business, create new jobs and stay competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace. It is also helping people in these communities to work, access services like health care or renewing their driver’s license, shop online, stay in touch with family and friends in easier and faster ways than before.
The expanded fibre-optic service is supported by the governments of Canada and Ontario, each committing up to $1.44 million. The contracts to expand broadband services were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation, initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario.
“Broadband infrastructure projects create jobs and spur economic growth in our rural communities,” said the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Soon, eight additional communities across Norfolk County will have reliable access to high speed internet. Our goal is to ensure every Canadian household, farm and business is connected to broadband and this project brings us one step closer to achieving it.”
“Our government made access to high speed internet a major priority for rural Ontario and we are delivering on that commitment,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The pandemic really showed us the importance of being connected to high-speed broadband. Families and businesses in these communities and throughout rural Ontario, need these services to do their work – whether it’s schoolwork or running a business. This is the type of critical infrastructure that benefits the entire community.”
More than $255 million has been invested by the governments of Canada and Ontario and the private sector, to bring high-speed internet to more than 58,000 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario through SWIFT.
“I am pleased to see our government fulfilling our promise to further expand broadband here in Southwestern Ontario,” said Toby Barrett, MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk. “Reliable connectivity is essential for continuing to make Haldimand-Norfolk a top destination for living, working, visiting and thriving.”
“With the completion of construction on the high-speed fibre-optic network in Norfolk County we are proud to announce, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments, that more than 2,115 additional homes and businesses now have access to fast, reliable broadband connectivity to enable many more residents to connect online and equally benefit from increased social and economic opportunities,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “Together with our partners we are pleased to mark yet another major milestone for the SWIFT program and for the residents of Norfolk County as we continue to drive greater connectivity across Southwestern 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 committing nearly $4 billion in broadband infrastructure to connect every region of the province with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
- Ontario has invested in initiatives to improve connectivity across Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. It has also invested in broadband projects through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Next Generation Network Program.
- Expanding access to broadband and cellular service is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.