Construction of broadband infrastructure has begun in Simcoe County, which will connect more than 11,000 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 $9 million to fund these broadband expansion projects that will deliver reliable internet access to the Townships of Clearview, Adjala-Tosorontio, Essa, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Tiny, Tay, Severn, Ramara and the Towns of Midland, Penetanguishene, Innisfil and the community of New Lowell.
“We invested to connect nearly 400,000 households by 2023 through the Connect to Innovate program,” said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Work is underway every day and in the next 18 months, we will connect 250,000 of these households. Our ambitious plan is working because we are working with our partners at the community level. We have also launched the Universal Broadband Fund – a $2.75 billion investment that will help connect all Canadians to the high-speed internet they need. Our number one goal over the coming months will be supporting high quality plans and applications from every community who needs better access. Together, with partners like those involved here in Simcoe County and SWIFT, we will achieve universal internet access, and ensure that location does not determine any Canadian’s access to essential services, working from home and connecting with their loved ones. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this project by SWIFT!”
“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 internet to do their work and for school and businesses need broadband to stay connected and compete in a global marketplace. These projects in Simcoe are important steps forward in our government’s plan to connect every community in Ontario to high speed internet by 2025.”
In addition to this construction progress, broadband expansion has now been completed in the communities of Penville, Rich Hill, Connor, Hockley and Rosemont with more than 400 homes and businesses now able to access fast, reliable broadband internet service. This fibre-optic network will bring high-speed internet access to more than 1,200 homes and businesses when construction is completed in March 2022.
“The past year has served as proof that reliable and accessible high-speed internet is imperative, and a major factor in our daily lives. From supporting our education system to our livelihoods, families in our communities need internet access they can rely on,” said Doug Downey, MPP For Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte. “It is a tremendous step forward for these communities as these projects come to our region. I know this issue has been a high priority for many people; this will bring relief to many families.”
“Having a reliable internet connection will help boost the economic prosperity of our communities and region,” said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie – Innisfil. “We have a very talented workforce who need to connect to other markets from their homes. This broadband announcement will help create the right environment for job creation and the economy well into the future.”
“The necessity of improved broadband access is vital for our schools, hospitals, businesses and more to be successful in today’s world,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP Simcoe North. “The SWIFT program offers a valuable partnership to provide availability of reliable, fast internet in rural and urban communities like those of Simcoe North to keep us better connected and allowing for continued social and economic growth.”
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.
“SWIFT, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments, announced a combined investment of $41.1 million to deliver high-speed internet to more than 12,700 underserved homes and businesses throughout Simcoe County,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “As we respond to the need for greater connectivity across our region, today’s announcement marks a major step forward in making broadband more accessible for students, families, and businesses throughout Simcoe County.”
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 tens of 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.
GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO