Expanding Broadband in Middlesex County

Published on March 15, 2021

MIDDLESEX COUNTY - More than 1,100 residents and businesses of Middlesex County are one step closer to fast, reliable internet access with the signing of six contracts for broadband infrastructure.

 

The governments of Canada and Ontario each committed up to $2.1 million to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of Middlesex County through an improved, modern broadband network.

 

Construction of the infrastructure networks in Middlesex County are expected to be up and running with service to start in March 2022. These projects are valued at $7.5 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of the community.

 

The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Middlesex 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.

 

In addition to the contracts announced today, further broadband expansion is anticipated for Middlesex County pending final negotiations and approvals.

 

"Our government has a plan to connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2030," said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. "This plan is underway and it's working. Today's announced project will bring broadband service to 1,117 homes and businesses in Middlesex County, ensuring that residents can stay connected to work, education services, and keep in touch with family, friends, and loved ones. Since 2015, we've invested over $205 million to 17 connectivity projects in Ontario, which will connect 19,657 more households to better, faster Internet - and we will continue to build on this progress through our $1.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund."

 

 

"The construction of broadband infrastructure in Middlesex County will help businesses to expand, create new job opportunities and connect more people to the services and information they need," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Our government recognizes the importance of expanding broadband connectivity to rural and remote areas and we're making it happen."

 

"This is incredible and timely news for the residents of Middlesex 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."

 

In response to the growing need for improved broadband service throughout Southwestern Ontario, I'm proud to say that with the support of our federal and provincial governments and private sector investors that more than 1,100 households and businesses will soon have access to fast, reliable high-speed internet in Middlesex County," said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. "In addition to today's announcement, further funding announcements are anticipated for Middlesex County that will bring even greater connectivity to the area."

 

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 established 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.

 

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