The Elgin County RFP was released March 23, 2020. Contracts will be awarded, and service provider agreements will be put in place shortly after the RFP closes on November 27, 2020.

(Elgin, ON) September 8, 2020 – Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is pleased to announce it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to $6.1 million to improve and expand broadband infrastructure in Elgin County.

“Broadband has now become a necessary utility as essential activities such as work, education, shopping and accessing public services continue to move online,” says SWIFT Board Chair, David Mayberry. “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 Elgin County.”

“The need for fast, reliable connectivity has never been more pressing,” says Elgin County Warden, David Mennill. “Elgin County Council is pleased that this significant milestone has been reached in a project that has been a priority of Council for several terms. This project will open up enhanced economic, educational and leisure opportunities for rural residents in Elgin County and across southwestern Ontario.”

“This announcement brings us one step closer to achieving SWIFT’s vision of greater digital equity between rural and urban populations in southwest Ontario,” says Elgin County Councillor and SWIFT Board Member, Tom Marks. “Fast, reliable broadband internet will ensure that Elgin County residents and businesses have access to the same level of infrastructure as their urban counterparts and are able to compete provincially, nationally and internationally.” 

“SWIFT, through its public and private partnerships, is advancing the expansion of high-speed networks across our region to close internet service gaps,” says SWIFT Executive Director, Barry Field. “In the race to increase connectivity in our unserved and underserved communities, today’s announcement represents an important step in expanding broadband internet within the County to provide reliable access to high-speed services.”

Prequalified service providers have until November 27, 2020 to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas throughout the County.   

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.  

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 Elgin County.       

Quick Facts:    

  • 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. 

  • 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.

About

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