FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 5, 2020
SIMCOE – The Ontario government announced another $680 million to expand broadband and cellular access this week.
The $680 million being announced today is on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding will be used for shovel-ready projects, will create jobs, and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond.
“With the world online these days, if we are going to attract more investment to Ontario and compete in this highly competitive global marketplace, we need every part of our province connected with high-speed Internet,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“We have made great inroads connecting more local areas to high speed, but there is still a long ways to go,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “This investment will help connect more residents to high speed over the next few years.”
The province is investing in the $190 million Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project to bring high-speed broadband to 50,000 more homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario. In the past few months, SWIFT Inc. has awarded contracts to bring high-speed Internet to thousands of residents in Lambton, Wellington, Norfolk, Oxford, Dufferin, Essex and Caledon. More contracts are expected in the coming months.
Haldimand County did not opt into the SWIFT program. They also have considerable issues with connection and have planned a separate initiative.
The investment doubles funding for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program, bringing the new total to $300 million. This program now has the potential to leverage more than $900 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in areas of need across Ontario. As part of Ontario’s broadband and cellular action plan, ICON is one of several provincial initiatives underway to improve connectivity across Northern, Eastern and Southwestern Ontario.
Over 1.4 million people in Ontario do not have broadband or cellular access, and as many as 12 per cent of households in Ontario, mostly in rural, remote or Northern areas, are underserved or unserved from the perspective of broadband, according to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) data.
“This investment will connect even more residents in communities across Ontario to faster, more reliable Internet and cell service,” said Minister Scott. “Today’s commitment to connect more people to reliable broadband and cellular service ― along with many others we’ve made ― will make it easier for more people to work and learn from home, run their businesses and connect with others.”
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]