FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2019
Better Broadband Service Coming Soon/ Investment will help farmers, businesses and rural residents take part in the digital economy
BRANTFORD — Ontario’s Government is funding the expansion of broadband internet into the southwest. Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton recently unveiled a key piece of the province’s budget commitment to improve people’s connections, no matter where they live.
The government will contribute up to $63.7 million towards the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project. SWIFT is a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in the region. Projects will be delivered with support from other levels of government.
MPP Will Bouma stated the announcement was a game changer.
“Too many people in Brantford-Brant do not have access to high-speed internet. That’s unacceptable,” said Bouma. “Today’s funding announcement means people in our community are one step closer to getting reliable, fast internet.”
“I’ve heard too many stories about parents sitting in fast-food restaurants or going to the local library to get Wi-Fi for their kids’ homework,” said McNaughton. “We want rural residents and businesses to be able to stream high-speed internet from their homes, farms and businesses. It’s time smaller communities across the province joined the digital economy.”
The investment is part of a $315 million commitment the provincial government is making to ensure communities across Ontario have access to high-speed internet and better cell phone service, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
With better access, people can work remotely, access e-commerce platforms, learn online and research at home. People can also access health care and government services and stay connected to friends and family. Better internet means businesses will be able to connect to customers and new markets, making it easier to share information, close deals and process payments.
QUICK FACTS Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is a not-for-profit corporation initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, a group of 15 municipalities. SWIFT is focused on improving connectivity in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and the Niagara Region. The project is delivered with support from Ontario and other levels of government. Ontario is supporting the SWIFT project in southwestern Ontario, committing up to $63.7 million in funding toward SWIFT’s total project costs of more than $190 million.
QUOTES “Reliable high-speed internet is vital to the success of our farms and the well-being of families across Ontario. For too long, it hasn’t been available. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture applauds the Ontario government for making a priority of this and any other initiative that helps solve this problem.” –Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
“SWIFT represents a significant change in the way we think about and fund investments in broadband. Today’s announcement is proof that we are moving in the right direction to address the region’s connectivity challenges. We need to narrow the digital divide and make small-town Ontario more competitive in the information economy.” –David Mayberry, Chair, Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology
“Dedicated investment in broadband and cellular networks is good progress. People need to be connected to participate in today’s economy – broadband is a key part of Ontario’s infrastructure, especially for the many rural and northern communities that lag behind urban centres.” –Jamie McGarvey, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario
“We are pleased by the government’s investment in critical broadband and cellular infrastructure in Southwestern Ontario. Access to high-speed internet is a basic requirement of the 21st century economy, much like roads, bridges, and electricity.” – Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more information, contact MPP Will Bouma at 519-759-0361 or [email protected]