Ontario’s Government is funding expansion of broadband internet into the southwest, Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton announced today, as he unveiled a key piece of the province’s budget commitment to improve people’s connections, no matter where they live.
The announcement means residents of Norfolk County are one step closer to getting better high-speed internet, with the calls for bids from market players going out later this year.
“I’ve heard too many stories about parents sitting in fast-food restaurant parking lots 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.”
McNaughton announced that the government has committed up to $63.7 million to Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in the region. SWIFT projects will be delivered with support from other levels of government.
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.
“I’m proud to say we are keeping our commitments by investing in things that matter to people,” said McNaughton. “Better broadband service is coming to Norfolk County.”
McNaughton was joined by Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman for the announcement.
“Affordable broadband connectivity is essential in rural Ontario to allow families to stay in touch, connect businesses with the world, and ensure Ontario is open for business and open for jobs,” said Minister Hardeman. “Our government made a commitment to bring high-speed internet connectivity to the people of rural Ontario. Today, we’re taking the next step in that commitment.”
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.