The Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Network continues to gain momentum and gather support as the project moves toward realizing its goal of building critical fibre-optic broadband infrastructure across Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and Niagara Region.
The City of Windsor joined SWIFT this week, confirming the City’s contribution of $275,000 in capital funding towards the project on September 18, 2017. This partnership follows $180 million in combined investments by the federal and provincial governments and over five years of committed collaboration and investment by municipalities across the region. This funding supports the expansion of access to broadband by delivering fibre optic coverage to over 350 communities across Southwestern Ontario, as well as Caledon, Orillia and Niagara Region. By connecting communities of all sizes to modern fibre-optic broadband, SWIFT will build critical economic development enabling infrastructure across all of Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region.
“Joining SWIFT will help our community access important technological infrastructure that will play a critical role in our current and future prosperity and vitality,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “We look forward to working with our partners at SWIFT as we pursue an innovative, sustainable, and prosperous future for Windsor and all of Southwestern Ontario.”
“Ultra-high speed Internet connectivity is as vital to economic development and quality of life in our communities as good roads and reliability electricity,” said SWIFT Board Chair Gerry Marshall. “Windsor joining alongside several other municipalities and public institutions underscores the importance of this initiative as we work to connect everyone who lives, works, and plays in Southwestern Ontario and Niagara Region.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Windsor as a partner in building broadband for everyone,” said SWIFT Executive Director Geoff Hogan. “Through collaborative leadership and investment, communities across our region are building better connectivity for the entire region, increasing the potential for economic growth and improving quality of life for our residents through better services.”
From manufacturing to the agri-food sector, government services to education, every aspect of the modern economy requires ultra-high speed connectivity to ensure access critical social and economic opportunities. The SWIFT Initiative is based on the principle that everyone deserves this critical access to high-speed Internet, regardless of the size of their community, their age, education, or where they work. The project was created to develop a long-term infrastructure plan to help our region compete, connect and keep pace in a changing digital world by building a holistic, ultra-high speed fibre optic network. SWIFT will build an affordable, open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre-optic regional broadband network for everyone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and Niagara Region. As a buying group, SWIFT will ensure greater competition between telecom service providers. More competition gives consumers more choices, which leads to better services and lower prices. By working together, municipalities, First Nations, health care organizations, schools and school boards, colleges and universities, our members will benefit from the significant influence that comes from their collective buying power – and SWIFT’s principles of open access and transparency will help increase competition and lead to better services at lower prices for organizations, businesses, and residents alike – and dramatically changing the landscape for how broadband infrastructure is funded, built and provided in Southwestern Ontario.
In addition to leadership from the county members of the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus and investment from the federal and provincial governments, the Region of Niagara, Town of Caledon, City of Orillia, City of Barrie, and the Region of Waterloo are also supporting the project. Over the last several months, additional members have joined the project, as detailed below.
Non-municipal members include:
- Connecting Windsor-Essex (CW-E) (whose membership includes Greater Essex County District School Board, Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest, Essex County Libraries, St. Clair College and the University of Windsor)
- CKLAG (whose membership includes Lambton College, Lambton Kent District School Board, and St. Clair Catholic District School Board)
- Grey Bruce Health Services
- Georgian College
- The Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation
Recently, Saugeen First Nation joined SWIFT as a member. Chief Dan Miskokomon from Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) sits on the SWIFT Board of Directors and Jennifer Whiteye, Executive Director of the Southern First Nations Secretariat, sits on the SWIFT Advisory Committee. Prior to receiving funding from the Governments of Canada and Ontario, SWIFT received letters of support for the project from the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and Walpole Island First Nation. SWIFT continues to work actively to engage the fourteen First Nations communities across the region as well as the Métis Nation of Ontario.
SWIFT launched the first stage in its procurement process on May 12, 2017 by releasing a two-stage Request for Pre-Qualification Process and pre-qualified 28 service providers through this process. For more information about the procurement process and to stay up to date on how SWIFT will build broadband for everyone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region, please visit www.swiftruralbraoaband.ca and sign-up for the SWIFT mailing list at www.swiftruralbroadband.ca/contact
SWIFT is currently requesting information from users across the region about their current Internet service. To complete the survey, please visit www.swiftruralbroadband.ca/survey
For more information, please call 519.914.1308 or visit www.swiftruralbroadband.ca