The RFP for Perth County 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 20, 2020 (Closing date extended to January 8, 2021).
Today, Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) announced that it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to $5.5 million to increase access to high-speed internet for many more residents living in Perth County. The RFP supports the advancement of critical broadband infrastructure across the County and is part of SWIFT’s Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan.
“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 Perth County.”
“I am pleased to hear that the Province has announced it will be proceeding with Phase 3 procurements for the continuation of SWIFT projects in our region. This announcement ensures that Perth County alongside other regions in Southwestern Ontario will be able to better link our underserved rural communities to level the playing field for this critical resource of high-speed connectivity,” says Perth County Warden Jim Aitcheson.
“Rural broadband internet service is a critical infrastructure, in my mind equivalent to the roads we drive our vehicles on. The exceptional work I’ve been privileged to be part of, as a member of the Board of Directors of SWIFT, has excited me, and is important to all those who live in Perth County. I am excited about this announcement, and our opportunity to greatly expand our possibilities for farming, for our youth, and for a bright, broadly-connected future,” says North Perth Mayor and SWIFT Board Member, Todd Kasenberg.
Prequalified service providers have until November 20, 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.
“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 Perth County.
- 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 $5.5 million to expand broadband infrastructure in Perth County. Contracts will be awarded and service provider agreements will be put in place shortly after the RFP closes on November 20, 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