The RFP is expected to close on June 19, 2020 with contracts awarded and service provider agreements in place later this summer.

Today Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) announced it has taken another important step forward as it issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) for $8.2 million to improve broadband infrastructure in Oxford County.

Building on the success of the outcomes of its Phase 2 Pilot Projects in the counties of Norfolk, Wellington and Lambton, SWIFT is now moving forward with the third phase of its project.

“SWIFT’s pilot projects have proven successful and have demonstrated with great certainty that service providers support the business model and its unique approach to funding the expansion of broadband infrastructure in rural communities,” says David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. “With the success of our initial projects, we are proud to announce today yet another significant milestone for SWIFT, our partners and the residents of Oxford County as we launch a broadband infrastructure project dedicated to improving connectivity in underserviced homes and businesses across the County.”

SWIFT’s newly released RFP invites prequalified service providers to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas throughout Oxford County. Eligible proposals will be evaluated against an assessment criteria to identify high-quality projects.

SWIFT will award contracts and funding to successful proponents based on ability to provide the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Universal Service Objective of 50 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up (50/10) or greater, number of premises passed, future scalability of the network and service provider contribution proportion, among other project selection factors.

The project budget is set at approximately $8.2 million with SWIFT offering funding up to 2/3 of the total project cost.  Service providers have until June 19, 2020 to submit proposals and are required to contribute a minimum of 1/3 towards the awarded project(s) cost.

“We are very pleased with the outcomes of the pilot projects and fully intend to replicate the success and the results in the Oxford County area,” says Barry Field, SWIFT Executive Director. “In partnership with our community leaders, private sector investors and the government of Ontario and Canada we will continue to work together to increase access to broadband services throughout our communities so that businesses and residents can continue to thrive in our ever-growing digital world.”

Selected and approved projects will be announced once SWIFT has completed its evaluation assessment, negotiated contracts and awarded funding to projects that scored the highest based on the evaluation process.

Quick Facts:

  • SWIFT’s Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan aims to connect approximately 22%of the region’s underserved premises over the course of the next three years.
  • SWIFT estimates that about 50,000 households and business across Southwestern Ontario will benefit from the initiative.
  • The total project budget has risen from$209 million to $213 million as a result of higher than anticipated private sector investment during SWIFT’s Phase 2 Pilot Projects.

About SWIFT

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is a non-profit regional broadband project initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to subsidize the construction of high-speed broadband networks across Southwestern Ontario. The project was approved for funding under the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (NBCF-SCF), a joint federal and provincial infrastructure funding program, and leverages additional funding from municipal partners and private sector investors to improve access to broadband services across the region.

Media Contact:

Melissa O’Brien
melissa.obrien@swiftruralbroadband.ca
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology
226.256.1640

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