High-speed Internet is changing how we work, live, educate, entertain ourselves and govern our communities.
Access to fast, unlimited and reliable broadband is becoming a vital necessity for communities and businesses so that they can compete in the global economy.
Yet, within Southwestern Ontario there are discrepancies in access to quality broadband services. As is the case with all utilities, access to broadband infrastructure is dependent on location. Some areas in Ontario have access to unlimited Internet for $100/month, while others pay the same amount for much slower services with limited monthly data allowances.
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), a not-for-profit corporation, was initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to address the region’s connectivity challenge. The project is delivered in partnership with member municipalities, as well as with the government of Ontario and Canada.
What is SWIFT?
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is a non-profit regional broadband project initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and delivered in partnership with member municipalities and the government of Ontario and Canada to subsidize the construction of an open-access, high-speed broadband network in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and the Niagara Region.
The goal of the SWIFT initiative is to enable the expansion of high-speed broadband networks by lessening the financial burden on service providers that have determined that it is too expensive to build-out Internet infrastructure in areas where the distance between customers is too great.
As a result, SWIFT will be directing government and private sector investment into broadband infrastructure in underserved areas within its project region. The project model ensures that funding is used to directly benefit areas that do not have access to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) universal service objective of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband services.
SWIFT’s network will be built, owned and operated by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), with oversight by the SWIFT Board of Directors.
The project approach strives towards the overarching goals of narrowing the digital divide and making small-town Ontario more competitive in the information economy.
Who does SWIFT represent?
SWIFT represents the collective interest of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC), an organization comprised of 15 upper and single tier municipalities in Southwestern Ontario. WOWC’s municipalities collectively represent approximately 300 communities, and almost half a million square kilometres of territory, more than 90% of it rural.
The SWIFT initiative has also partnered with the Town of Caledon, Niagara Region, the Region of Waterloo, the City of London and the City of Windsor and is supported by many First Nation communities within the project area.
Additionally, non-municipal members include school boards, universities, hospitals, businesses and community network groups from across the project region.
SWIFT is also pleased to have the support of both the federal and provincial governments as the project recognizes that working with the community and multiple levels of government to bring fibre-optic connectivity to citizens, businesses, and organizations is critical to the region’s economic growth and prosperity.
We want to hear from you! Help make high-speed internet access a reality for everyone by expressing your support and staying informed. Sign up for our email newsletter to the right or follow us on Facebook & Twitter to stay in the loop.
You can also reach us by phone at 519-914-1308 to learn more about SWIFT.
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