Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is moving forward with its commitment to improve internet access across Southwestern Ontario. Today, the regional broadband project announced that it has issued and closed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $7.2 million to enhance broadband infrastructure in Dufferin 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 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 Dufferin County.”
“After a long and thorough process, I’m ecstatic to be starting the final stages of the SWIFT program in Dufferin County. We’ve always known that the future of rural Ontario must include strong, resilient and reliable high-speed broadband, and SWIFT is a large part of that future,” says Dufferin County Warden Darren White.
The Dufferin County RFP was issued on March 9, 2020 and closed May 29, 2020.
SWIFT is now evaluating all eligible proposals and network designs that were submitted by prequalified service providers to address broadband service gaps in the County’s eligible funding areas.
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 bring reliable internet to more people living in Dufferin County.
- SWIFT is 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 and closed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $7.2 million to expand broadband infrastructure in Dufferin County. Contracts and service provider agreements are to be put in place later this summer.
- 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