Connecting More Homes & Businesses in Waterloo Region to Broadband

$11.1 million investment builds on governments’ broadband plans

Photo: Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South—Hespeler

KINCARDINE – Construction of $11.1 million in broadband infrastructure has begun in Waterloo Region which will soon connect more than 1,200 homes and businesses to fast, reliable internet service. This will help create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the county.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario each committed $3.7 million to fund three broadband expansion projects that will deliver reliable internet access to the communities of Maryhill, Haysville, Ayr, Orr’s Lake, Clyde, Dorking, Macton, North Woolwich, Josephburg and Erbsville.

“Access to reliable Internet is essential and the pandemic has further highlighted how much we rely on these connections to work, learn and access services. I am proud of the progress our government continues to make in collaboration with our partners, and this investment brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of connecting all Canadian homes and businesses to high-speed Internet by 2030”, said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, 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 to residents in Maryhill, Haysville, Ayr, Orr’s Lake, Clyde, Dorking, Macton, North Woolwich, Josephburg, and Erbsville, allowing them to have better access to essential online tools and technology. We will continue our work to connect communities to high-speed Internet here in Waterloo Region, and across Canada.”

“The pandemic has proven that access to high speed internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity for all Ontarians,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Families need high-speed internet to do their work – whether it’s schoolwork, running a businesses or volunteering. Families need broadband to stay connected and compete in a global marketplace. These projects in Waterloo Region are important steps forward in our government’s plan to connect every community in Ontario to high speed internet by 2025.”

“Today’s announcement is very welcome news for families living in our rural communities. Fast and reliable internet service is vital to those who learn and work from home, and for businesses looking to grow and succeed,“ said Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South—Hespeler.

“The approved broadband projects across Waterloo Region will support local jobs in the short-term and keep our rural communities connected and competitive for the long-term” said Mike Harris, MPP Kitchener-Conestoga. “This contract brings Ontario one step closer to reliable broadband province wide by 2025 for families, businesses and students alike.”

The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Simcoe 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, 5,834 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario have received access to improved broadband through SWIFT.

“Today, in partnership with the governments of Ontario and Canada, we are pleased to announce that three high-speed fibre-optic broadband projects through the SWIFT program have now begun construction in the Region of Waterloo,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “This milestone in SWIFT’s regional broadband expansion plan is another step in the right direction to achieving the level of connectivity in Southwestern Ontario that is required in today’s highly connected world. Once completed, the new networks will deliver long-term sustainable broadband solutions that will unlock greater economic growth potential for businesses and provide local communities and the residents that live within them greater access to social and global opportunities.”

Efforts continue to bridge the gaps in broadband access in Southwestern Ontario, as part of a combined public and private sector investment of more than $255 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.
  • North Frontenac Telephone Corporation Limited (NFTC) was awarded a contract to provide service to the underserved area south of Maryhill and northeast of Breslau. They were awarded a second contract to service two separate underserved areas in the Region of Waterloo. Bell Canada was awarded a contract to service two separate underserved areas within the Township of North Dumfries. Rogers Communication was awarded a contract to provide service to premises within Haysville and Ayr.
  • Fibre-to-the-home broadband connections refer to the use of fibre optic cable to deliver the fastest reliable Internet service to homes and businesses.
  • 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 2021 Ontario Budget commits a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to ensure that every community in the province has access to reliable broadband by 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 and cellular service is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.

SOURCE: Province of Ontario

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