The RFP for the Region of Waterloo was released March 23, 2020. Contracts will be awarded, and service provider agreements will be put in place shortly after the RFP closes on October 2, 2020.
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is pleased to announce it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for to up to $11.9 million to increase access to high-speed internet throughout the Waterloo Region. The RFP supports the expansion of critical broadband infrastructure in the region’s underserved areas.
“Broadband has now become a necessary utility as essential activities such as work, education, shopping and accessing public services continue to move online,” says David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair. “Our current reality has emphasized, more so than ever, the importance and need for greater connectivity across our region. That is why SWIFT, in partnership with the Government of Ontario and Canada, along with our municipal partners are pleased to announce that access to high-speed internet will soon be a reality for many more residents living in the Region of Waterloo.”
“This is a great example of three levels of government and the private sector working together to meet a significant need for improved rural internet services across Southwestern Ontario, and Waterloo Region is proud to be a participant in this important project,” says Karen Redman, Waterloo Regional Chair.
“The leveraging of financial commitments from the federal and provincial governments, in partnership with the Region of Waterloo, have facilitated the opportunity for SWIFT to undertake the meaningful and transformative investment in high speed broadband connectivity for the rural countryside. This announcement and the implementation timetable will greatly assist rural residents, businesses and the farming community. This represents a strategic investment in our community that will provide immediate and tangible results,” says Sue Foxton, Township of North Dumfries Mayor and SWIFT Board Member.
Prequalified service providers have until October 2, 2020 to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas throughout the Region.
To identify high-quality projects, SWIFT will evaluate all eligible proposals against a predefined assessment criteria.
When evaluating and selecting projects for funding, SWIFT takes into consideration the following: ability to provide 50 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up (50/10) service or greater, number of premises passed, future scalability of the network, and service provider contribution proportion, among other project selection factors.
Selected and approved projects will be announced once SWIFT has completed its evaluation assessment, negotiated contracts and awarded funding to projects that score the highest based on the evaluation process.
“SWIFT, through its public and private partnerships, is advancing the expansion of high-speed networks across our region to close internet service gaps,” says Barry Field, Executive Director, SWIFT. “In the race to increase connectivity in our unserved and underserved communities, today’s announcement represents a significant step in bringing high-speed internet to many more residents living in Southwestern Ontario.”
Operating on a cost sharing basis, SWIFT will leverage federal and provincial funding to subsidize up to a maximum of 2/3 of the eligible costs for awarded projects to deliver reliable internet to more people living in the Region of Waterloo.
- SWIFT is currently overseeing a $209 million Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan that will connect 22% of the region’s underserved premises over the next 3 years.
- As part of its expansion plan, SWIFT has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $11.9 million to expand broadband infrastructure in the Region of Waterloo. Contracts will be awarded, and service provider agreements will be put in place shortly after the RFP closes on October 2, 2020.
- The Government of Ontario and Canada have committed up to $63.7 million each to support SWIFT. The project also leverages additional funding from municipal partners and private sector investors.
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.
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology