Canada and Ontario Increasing Access to High-Speed Internet in Oxford County
Nine more rural communities are benefiting from access to high-speed internet
September 22, 2022
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
OXFORD COUNTY –The governments of Canada and Ontario are each investing more than $950,000 to bring high-speed internet access to more than 930 homes, farms and businesses in Oxford County.
“Connecting hundreds of homes, farms and businesses throughout Oxford County to reliable, high-speed internet is great news,” said Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Our world is moving increasingly into digital spaces, making access to modern broadband essential for our communities to continue growing and prospering. Better connectivity in Oxford County will help to attract investment, while making the region an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
As part of the Ontario government’s plan to bring access to high-speed internet to every community by 2025, construction of new broadband infrastructure is now providing high-speed internet access to 675 farms, families and businesses in the communities of Kintore, Drumbo, Gobles, Verschoyle, and Dereham Centre. The governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed more than $693,000 to these projects.
“We’re delivering on our government’s commitment to provide access to high-speed internet for rural Ontario,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “New connections, like the ones announced today in Oxford County, will help families stay in touch and access the supports they need, while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy. It’s this type of critical infrastructure that builds Ontario and benefits the entire community.”
In addition, more than 260 homes, farms and businesses in the communities of Hickson, Strathallan, Huntingford, and Willow Lake are scheduled to begin receiving access to high-speed internet service by the Fall of 2022. Both governments are each committing more than $256,000 in total to this project.
“Too many people, especially rural residents, do not have reliable internet access meaning they can’t work from home, stay regularly connected to family and friends, or access public services such as health care,” said Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford. “That’s why I’m glad to see these projects that strengthen rural broadband and ensure that everyone in Oxford can stay connected to the services they depend on.”
These new connections will help farms and businesses to attract new customers, grow their operations and create new jobs while also enabling people to connect online to work, learn and access vital services.
“SWIFT’s broadband expansion plan continues to progress in Oxford County as many more rural homes and local businesses in our awarded project areas now have access to improved high-speed internet service,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “These new connections will have positive long-term effects on the communities, and we are pleased to partner with the governments of Ontario and Canada as we continue to work together to bring greater digital equality to Southwestern Ontario.”
The contracts to expand broadband services were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation, initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario. More than $255 million has been invested by the governments of Canada, Ontario, and the private sector, to bring high-speed internet to more than 63,000 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario through SWIFT.
- 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.
- In July 2021, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced an historic agreement that will bring high-speed Internet to nearly 280,000 rural Ontario households in hundreds of communities across the province, through an equal federal-provincial investment totalling more than $1.2 billion
- The Ontario Government has committed nearly $4 billion to bring high-speed internet access to every corner of the province by the end of 2025. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
- In 2021, Ontario passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 to help speed up construction of broadband projects. Ontario is also helping to remove barriers, duplication and delays, making it easier and faster to build high-speed internet infrastructure through the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022, which was passed unanimously by the Legislature on April 11, 2022. This legislation helps ensure underserved and unserved communities across the province have access to reliable high-speed internet sooner and will help the government achieve its commitment to connect every region with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.
- 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.