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SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) commends the provincial government’s continued commitment to invest in broadband infrastructure and, improve connectivity in rural and urban communities. Minister Bob Chiarelli’s Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2017, delivered Tuesday, declares that ‘the Government of Ontario is committed to working with its federal, municipal, private-sector and First Nations partners to ensure Ontario has the best possible broadband infrastructure.’

The long-term infrastructure plan recognizes that an accessible, affordable, reliable, ultra high-speed broadband network is a critical piece of Ontario’s infrastructure ‘…that will enable Ontarians to live, participate and compete in the digital world.’ The plan also prioritizes the need for strategic and co-ordinated investments in broadband and, promises to develop a broadband strategy that will be released for consultation in 2018.

“SWIFT is very encouraged by the province’s pledge to improve connectivity in communities across the province,” said Gerry Marshall, Board Chair at SWIFT. “Ongoing, co-ordinated and strategic investments in Ontario’s broadband infrastructure are fundamental to Ontario’s future prosperity.”

“While the Province has committed to investing $190 Billion in public infrastructure over the next 13 years, starting in 2014–15, it is unclear what portion will be allocated to broadband infrastructure,” said Geoff Hogan, Chief Executive Officer at SWIFT. “We will continue to work with all levels of government and other stakeholder groups to maximize broadband infrastructure investments until Ontario has built a fully integrated, fibre optic network that connects everyone to endless opportunities.”

About the SWIFT Initiative
SWIFT is a collective broadband initiative that is building 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 over $180 million in combined investments by the federal and provincial governments and over $17 million in investments by municipalities across the region. By developing a long-term infrastructure plan, SWIFT is helping more than 3.5 million Ontarians, across 350 communities, 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.

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