The Governments of Canada and Ontario marked the signing of a contract for broadband infrastructure that will deliver reliable internet access to nearly 2,465 homes and businesses across Brant County.
Both levels of government have each committed up to $1.6 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 infrastructure network is expected to be up and running with full service available by August of 2022. This project is valued at $9.4 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in Harrisburg, Harley, Fairfield Plain, Burtch, Newport, Onondaga, Middleport and within Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation community.
The contract to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Brant County was awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario.
“Today’s important investment will bring high-speed internet to nearly 2,465 homes and businesses in Brant County,” said Bryan May, Member of Parliament for Cambridge on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Work is now underway, and once completed, residents will be able to access many key services for work school and entertainment. Our local partnerships are key to getting this project completed. We will also connect nearly 400,000 households nationally by 2023 through the Connect to Innovate program, and help-connect all Canadians through the $1.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund.”
“The signing of the broadband infrastructure contract in Brant County is a vital step forward in our plan to deliver broadband that supports better educational opportunities, helps attract more businesses and creates jobs,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our government understands the importance of expanding broadband connectivity to our rural and remote areas and we’re making it happen.”
“In the time of virtual meetings, working from home and online classes for some students, I am so pleased that our Government is coming through with an expansion for broadband in Brant County,” said Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma. “During COVID-19 and our attempts to mitigate this pandemic, this will come a long way in our commitments to rural Ontarians’ ability to be productive and happier with their online experience.”
“With the support of the federal and provincial governments, SWIFT is delivering on its commitment to expand and increase access to broadband services across Southwestern Ontario,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. “Today’s newly announced $9.4 million investment will provide long-term sustainable broadband solutions that will bring faster, reliable internet connectivity to many more homes and businesses in Brant County and within the Six Nations of the Grand River.”
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.