Photo: Bill Walker
Bill Walker MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Queen's Park

Bill Walker MPP

Media Release:

Media Release: image
Work on a broadband internet expansion project in Skipness is underway

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2021

MPP Walker announces expanded broadband in Grey and Bruce

OWEN SOUND – Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker is pleased that more than 1,200 homes and businesses of Grey and Bruce counties are one step closer to fast, reliable internet access with the beginning of construction for multiple new local broadband infrastructure projects.

The governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed up to $1.8 million to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of both counties through improved, modern broadband networks.
 
Construction of the first infrastructure network in the communities of Habermehl, Crawford, Mulock, Allan Park and Vickers, is expected to be up and running with service starting in August 2021. This project is valued at $3.8 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of Grey County. Construction of additional broadband infrastructure is also underway in the community of Bognor and is expected to be up and running with service starting in December 2022. This project is valued at $177,000 and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of Grey County.

Construction of broadband infrastructure in the communities of Tolmie and Skipness is expected to be up and running with service to start in December 2022. This project is valued at $1.5 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of Bruce County.

The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Grey and Bruce counties 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 3,000 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario have received access to improved broadband through SWIFT.

“I am proud of the progress our government has made, in collaboration with our partners, towards reaching our goal of connecting all Canadian homes and businesses to high-speed Internet.” said Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Today’s announcement will bring fast and reliable broadband access to more than 1,200 homes and businesses in Grey and Bruce Counties, giving them access to essential services that are critical to ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of their families. We will continue our work connecting communities to the high-speed internet they need here in southwestern Ontario, and across Canada.”

“Our government has recognized the significant need for expanded access to fast, reliable internet in Grey and Bruce counties,” said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By continuing to provide access to broadband internet, our government is helping residents and businesses across rural Ontario connect with the world in the same way urban Ontario does.”

“This pandemic has made us all realize the importance of having reliable broadband internet services. Whether you’re working from home, doing your schoolwork, or communicating with loved ones, reliable broadband internet is vital,” said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker. “I’m thrilled to see the SWIFT program continuing its progress to improve services in our rural communities. This is great news and I look forward to SWIFT continuing this important work.”

"We are pleased to announce that shovels are in the ground and construction is now underway in Bruce County and work continues to move forward in Grey County to improve access to broadband services," said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. "SWIFT, in partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, has awarded in total more than $33 million in contracts to expand broadband service to nearly 9,200 homes and businesses across the counties of Grey and Bruce. Today’s announcement marks the start of construction for three more high-speed broadband projects within Southwestern Ontario that will bring greater connectivity to the region.”

Efforts continue 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 businesses, 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 2021 Budget commits a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to ensure that every region in the province has access to reliable broadband by the end of 2025. This brings the province’s total investment to nearly $4 billion over six years. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in broadband, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
  • 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


CONTACT: Chris Fell | chris.fell@pc.ola.org | 519-371-2421


 
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