The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), which has been advocating for equitable access to reliable, high speed broadband for many years, is now a member of SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT). The OFA is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 farm families across the province.
“By becoming a member of SWIFT, the OFA is supporting a strategic broadband initiative that is fundamental to the future prosperity of the entire province,” said Keith Currie, President of the OFA. “This partnership aligns with the launch of our ‘distributed economic development’ campaign for a healthy, vibrant and strong Ontario.”
The SWIFT initiative is based on the same principle of distributed economic development which is the idea that development in one part of Ontario will benefit the whole province. By working to improve ultra-high-speed fibre optic Internet access for more than 3.5 million Ontarians, SWIFT is increasing fairness and opportunity for everyone. The project is leveraging over $180 million in combined investments by the federal and provincial governments and over $17 million in investments by municipalities across the region.
“We look forward to representing and championing the connectivity interests of Ontario’s farm families,” said Gerry Marshall, Board Chair at SWIFT. “Many of Ontario’s farming communities currently face production limitations because of slow internet speeds. Creating a fully integrated fibre optic network will help to eliminate the digital divide that still exists between Ontario’s rural and urban communities.”
“All of Ontario’s farming communities require equal access to the technological advances that broadband enables,” said Geoff Hogan, Chief Executive Officer at SWIFT. “Access to ultra-high-speed fibre optic broadband is the key to growing our farming communities and unlocking Ontario’s economic potential.”
About the SWIFT Initiative
SWIFT is a not-for-profit, collective broadband initiative that is funding the construction of an affordable, open-access, ultra high-speed fibre-optic regional broadband network for everyone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and the Niagara Region. The project is leveraging $180 million in combined investments by the federal and provincial governments and over $17 million in investments by municipalities across the region. To overcome our region’s longstanding broadband infrastructure gaps, SWIFT has developed a long-term plan to help more than 3.5 million Ontarians to connect and keep pace in a changing digital world. SWIFT membership is open to any community or organization in southwestern Ontario that needs connectivity to any of its locations. Members benefit from SWIFT’s significant procurement expertise, including aggregated demand, negotiated rates, and support in preparing RFPs for broadband services. As a buying group, SWIFT also ensures greater competition between telecom service providers which will lead to better services at lower prices in member communities.