• Bruce County to receive $16.3 million in broadband upgrades.
  • More than 5,200 households and businesses to see improvements in broadband internet services throughout the municipalities of Arran-Elderslie, Brockton, Northern Bruce Peninsula, South Bruce and within the Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.
  • Projects also include expanding high-speed fibre-optic broadband services to more than 300 households in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

(Bruce County, ON) November 17, 2020 – Today Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) announced it has awarded funding to expand broadband services to more than 5,200 households and businesses across Bruce County, including expanding high-speed fibre-optic service to more than 300 homes in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

“Time is of the essence with respects to implementing broadband services,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair.  “SWIFT is making excellent progress as we continue to rollout projects across our region to provide many more residents throughout Southwestern Ontario with access to stable and reliable internet services.  Today’s announcement in Bruce County is a step in the right direction to ensuring digital equality across our region.”

SWIFT has awarded $9.1 million in federal and provincial funding to improve high-speed internet connectivity in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and throughout the municipalities of Arran-Elderslie, Brockton, Northern Bruce Peninsula, South Bruce and within the Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. In total the region will receive $16.3 million in broadband upgrades, including more than $7.2 million in contributions from the internet service providers.

“Access to reliable, affordable, fast internet is essential to move Bruce County into a strong, resilient future. The funding from the Province and the Federal governments will allow the SWIFT program to move one more step closer to making this a reality for all of our businesses and residents,” said Bruce County Warden Mitch Twolan. “County Council is excited to work alongside project partners in seeing this important initiative realized.”

Xplornet Communications has been awarded funding to support three fibre-to-the-home projects.  The newly awarded projects will collectively service 69 kilometres of underserved roadway to bring high-speed internet to 3,247 homes and businesses within the municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. The projects represent a collective total investment of approximately $6.4 million and will be completed with service available by mid-2022.

“Xplornet is Canada’s leading rural-focused Internet provider, and we’re pleased to be working with SWIFT as we deploy our next-generation networks across southwestern Ontario. Rural residents in Bruce County can look forward to the fastest speeds and unlimited data delivered by an Xplornet fibre-to-the-home network – coming soon!” said Johanne Senécal, VP, Government and Public Affairs, Xplornet Communications Inc.

SWIFT has signed an agreement with EH!tel Networks to support a hybrid project which will use a combination of both fibre and wireless technologies to significantly expand broadband access within the municipalities of Arran-Elderslie, Brockton and South Bruce. The newly awarded $4.7 million project will deploy fibre cabling along 66 kilometres of underserved roadway and upgrade service on existing wireless towers to provide high-speed connectivity to more than 1,054 residents. Improved broadband services are expected to be available by late-2021.

“Providing broadband access to all Canadians is a monumental and complex task.  Without funding for new high-capacity rural networks, costs would remain prohibitive,” says Antonius Peeters, CEO and President, EH!tel Networks.  “The funding received from the federal and provincial governments, supported through SWIFT, enables these projects to move forward, stimulate competition and encourage partnerships.”

SWIFT has signed an agreement with GBTEL to deploy fibre cabling along 22 kilometres of underserved roadway throughout the municipality of South Bruce to bring high-speed service to more than 252 households. Construction of the $1.5 million fibre-to-the-home solution is expected to be completed by late-2022.

GBTEL will also receive funding to service 30 kilometres of underserved roads in the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation community. The $1.3 million fibre-optic project will bring high-speed internet service to 313 households and businesses within the First Nation by late-2022.

“SWIFT has been a supportive asset in our drive to improve rural broadband in Bruce. Rural fibre is extremely expensive to deploy, and, without the support of SWIFT, fibre builds in rural Bruce would otherwise be significantly limited,” said Richard Gils, President, GBTEL.

Wightman Telecom will receive funding to deploy fibre-optic cabling along 6 kilometres of underserviced roads in the municipality of South Bruce. The $1.1 million fibre-to-the-home network will deliver high-speed connectivity to 226 households and businesses by early-2022.

“In 2008 Wightman started investing in constructing fibre to the homes and businesses in the South Western Ontario region.  With availability of SWIFT funding, our plans can accelerate in areas that were not viable before,” said Rob Figliuzzi, President and CEO, Wightman. “Wightman is excited to be able to bring fibre enhanced services to the homes and businesses in the village of Formosa”.

HuronTel was awarded a contract to deploy fibre-optic cabling along 50 kilometres of underserviced roads in the municipality of South Bruce and within the Township of Huron-Kinloss.  The $1.3 million fibre-to-the-home solution will deliver high-speed connectivity to 128 households and businesses by early-2022.

“HuronTel is pleased to partner with SWIFT to provide Fibre to the Home services for many Bruce County residents near Langside, in the Municipalities of Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce,” said Ryan McClinchey, General Manager, HuronTel.  “This high speed fibre-optic project builds on HuronTel’s 110 year commitment to provide reliable telecommunications service to the residents and businesses in our landscape of rural areas and small towns.”

“SWIFT continues to drive forward and deliver on its Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan; today’s announcement is a prime example of the effectiveness of SWIFT’s public-private partnerships,” said Barry Field, Executive Director, SWIFT. “Projects are now well underway in many areas across our region and we expect the first wave of construction to begin in Bruce County by early 2021. In total SWIFT will bring better broadband service to approximately 13,000 residents across 23 communities within the County by 2022.”

Today’s newly announced projects are part of SWIFT’s $209 million broadband expansion plan that aims to bring better broadband access to approximately 50,000 underserved homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.

Additional Information:
Bruce County Project Overview

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, Caledon and the Niagara Region.

The project was approved for funding up to $127.4 million 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 bring the total project investment to $209 million to improve access to broadband services across the region.