The RFP is expected to close on November 13, 2020 with contracts awarded and service provider agreements in place later this year (Closing date extended to December 11, 2020).

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is moving forward with its commitment to improve internet access throughout Southwestern Ontario. Today, the regional broadband project announced it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the construction of approximately $10.4 million worth of critical broadband infrastructure within the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

In addition to the newly announced RFP, SWIFT is also working to finalize a contract for a project with Delaware Nation at Moraviantown valued at an estimated $700,000.  In total, the collective value of the project area is approximately $11.1 million.

“SWIFT is proud to announce that many more residents in Chatham-Kent will soon have access to high-speed internet,” says Barry Field, Executive Director, SWIFT. “With today’s announcement we are looking forward to continuing to work with the municipality and our service providers to create new opportunities for families and businesses as we move forward in addressing the region’s connectivity challenges.”

“Current events have demonstrated that once again, access to high speed Internet service is vital to our rural residents,” says Darrin Canniff, Mayor, Chatham-Kent. “This is a very positive development.”

SWIFT will leverage approximately $3.4 million in funding contributions received from its municipal partners to support up to 2/3 of the eligible costs for awarded projects. SWIFT is also working with Chatham-Kent to secure a loan of up to $3.6M to top up available funding to maximize the total value of the project and its projected return on investment.

“SWIFT represents a unified regional voice and the combined connectivity interest of Southwestern Ontario,” says David Mayberry, Board Chair, SWIFT. “In response to the growing need for increased access to high-speed internet I’m proud to say that SWIFT’s municipal partners are strategically working together to pool our resources and fund the expansion of critical broadband infrastructure across the region.”

“Today is an exciting day as we take the next step forward to supply rural Chatham-Kent with reliable, accessible Internet with our partnership with SWIFT.” Jamie McGrail, Chatham-Kent SWIFT Board member.

Prequalified service providers have until November 13, 2020 to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas. All compliant proposals will be evaluated against an assessment criteria to identify high-quality projects. Contracts and funding will be awarded to successful proponents based on ability to provide the 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.

Selected and approved projectswill 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:

  • The RFP supports the expansion of broadband infrastructure in eligible funding areas that currently do not have access to 50 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up (50/10) service.
  • SWIFT will leverage approximately $3.4 million in funding contributions made by its member municipalities, including investments from Chatham-Kent, to expand broadband access across the municipality.
  • SWIFT operates on a cost-sharing basis and requires successful service providers to fund 1/3 of the awarded project(s) cost.
  • The regions broadband infrastructure expansion project is collectively valued at approximately $11.1 million.

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.

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