Expanding Access to Broadband in Elgin County

Published on March 17, 2021

ELGIN COUNTY - Almost 1,400 residents and businesses of Elgin County are one step closer to fast, reliable internet access with the signing of three contracts for broadband infrastructure.

 

Both the Governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed up to $2 million to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of Elgin County through an improved, modern broadband network.

 

Construction of the infrastructure network is expected to be up and running with service starting in September 2022. These projects are valued at $6.1 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of the county. The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Elgin 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. To date, more than 2,140 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario have received access to improved broadband through SWIFT.

 

"This is incredible and timely news for the residents of Elgin County," said Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin - Middlesex - London. "I'm proud that the Ontario government is prioritizing the delivery of reliable broadband to the underserved areas of our community."

 

"High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural Ontario," said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. "Today's investment will bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to almost 1,400 homes and businesses in Elgin County, helping create jobs, improving access to health care and online learning services, and keeping people connected to their loved ones. Our government has committed over $205 million to 17 connectivity projects in Ontario, which will connect 19,657 more households to better, faster Internet. We will continue to make investments like these to help connect every Canadian to the high-speed Internet they need. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this project by SWIFT!"

 

"The construction of broadband infrastructure in Elgin County will help businesses to expand, create new jobs and connect more people to the services and information they need," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Broadband connectivity provides our local businesses with access to a world of new online customers and provides rural residents with immediate access to friends and family members, as well as educational opportunities, health care, and a world of other services."

 

"With the support of the federal and provincial governments, SWIFT continues to drive forward with its Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan," said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. "Today's newly announced $6.1 million in infrastructure investments will provide fast, reliable internet connectivity to many more residents living in Elgin County to further support economic growth and social well-being within the region's rural and underserved communities."

 

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 an 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.
  • The Province 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 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.

Additional Resources