Ontario Construction News staff writer
Construction has started on broadband infrastructure in Grey and Bruce County to connect more than 1,200 homes and businesses to internet service.
The governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed up to $1.8 million to expand service to rural, remote and underserved areas.
Construction of the first infrastructure network in the communities of Habermehl, Crawford, Mulock, Allan Park and Vickers, at a cost of $3.8 million, is expected to be up and running by August 2021.
Additional broadband infrastructure is also being built in the community of Bognor and is expected to be completed in December 2022 at a cost of $177,000.
The project in the Bruce County communities of Tolmie and Skipness is valued at $1.5 million and will be completed by the end of the year.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.