SWIFT Announces Wellington County High-Speed Broadband Expansion Plan

Posted On Monday January 20, 2020
  • SWIFT signs agreements with Cogeco Connexion Inc. (Cogeco Connexion), EH!tel Networks Inc. (EH!tel Networks) and North Frontenac Telephone Corporation Limited (NFTC) to support the expansion of broadband infrastructure in Wellington County.
  • Nearly 2,900 households and businesses across 17 communities throughout the townships of Guelph Eramosa, Centre Wellington, Mapleton and Wellington North will soon have access to faster and better internet services.
  • The broadband infrastructure expansion plan is valued at approximately $12 million.

SWIFT today announced it has awarded contracts to expand high-speed broadband services to nearly 2,900 homes and businesses in Wellington County throughout the townships of Guelph Eramosa, Centre Wellington, Mapleton, and Wellington North.

“Access to broadband services is essential in today’s digital world, that is why we are pleased to announce that many more residents in Wellington County will soon have greater access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” says David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair.  “SWIFT is committed to improving network coverage in rural communities across Southwestern Ontario and looks forward to continuing to expand broadband services within our region.”

A total of $7.5 million in provincial and federal funding has been awarded by SWIFT to support four broadband infrastructure projects across 15 underserved communities within Wellington County. The total value of the newly announced projects is approximately $12 million, including nearly $4.5 million in contributions from the service providers.  

“Reliable internet throughout Wellington County’s urban and rural communities is essential for both residents and businesses” says Kelly Linton, Wellington County Warden. “Wellington County is excited to move forward with this first phase of high-speed broadband expansion and we look forward to the improvements and opportunities that will result from the SWIFT initiative.”

“We have been working towards this action for some time now and it is great to see this next phase of infrastructure being built in our communities,” commented Councillor George Bridge, Economic Development Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens` Caucus and SWIFT Board Member. “SWIFT, and the results from this partnership will not only benefit residents but will also help our businesses be more competitive, innovative and connected both locally and internationally.”

SWIFT is making the investments through the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (NBCF-SCF), a joint federal and provincial infrastructure funding program, and in partnership with its member municipalities. 

“The projects we are investing in today will provide families and businesses, particularly in rural communities, with access to faster and better broadband services,” says Barry Field, SWIFT Executive Director.  “Working collaboratively with our service providers and in partnership with government representatives, the newly announced projects will expand broadband infrastructure in underserved areas to improve the delivery of high-speed connectivity throughout the county.”

Cogeco Connexion is among the service providers that will receive funding from SWIFT for two fibre-optic broadband infrastructure projects.  The company has been awarded approximately $4.5 million to deploy fibre cabling along more than 112 kilometres of underserved roads in the Townships of Guelph Eramosa and Centre Wellington. The newly expanded fibre optic network will connect approximately 1,950 homes and businesses in the communities of Eden Mills, Brucedale, Centre Inn, Everton, Oustic, Simpson Corners, Shands, Spier, Pine Meadows, Maple Leaf and Belwood. Services will be available mid-2021 for the residents of Eden Mills with the remaining project areas expected to be up and running by late-2021. The total collective value of the fibre-to-the-home projects is estimated at $7.4 million.

“Wellington County is a priority for Cogeco Connexion and we are proud to have been selected by SWIFT to proceed with our proposed expansion in the townships of Guelph Eramosa and Centre Wellington,” said Antoine Shiu, Vice President, Business Solutions and Market Expansion at Cogeco Connexion. “Being community focused is deeply-entrenched in our core corporate values. As such, we are thrilled to fulfill the county’s vision for a powerful, reliable and affordable fibre network – as well as help meet the Government of Ontario’s objective of ensuring all people and businesses in the province have access to high-speed internet.”

$1.7 million in funding has also been awarded to EH!tel Networks to support a hybrid project which will use a combination of both fibre and wireless technologies to significantly expand broadband access to portions of Inverhaugh, Ponsonby and Ariss, providing high-speed connectivity to more than 670 residents.  The total project cost is approximately $2.6 million and will require the service provider to install fibre-optic lines along 33 kilometres of underserved roads within the Townships of Guelph Eramosa and Centre Wellington.  EH!tel Networks’ project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.  

“EH!tel Networks is excited and appreciative to have been selected by SWIFT to construct a fibre-to-the-home network in Ariss, Inverhaugh, and surrounding areas,” says Wendy Peeters, Sales Manager, EH!tel Networks. “We look forward to working with SWIFT and the community to provision exceptionally reliable internet speeds of up to 1Gbps, with IPTV and home phone.”

NFTC will also receive $1.3 million in funding to deploy fibre-cabling along more than 41 kilometers of underserviced roads in the Townships of Mapleton, Wellington North and Centre Wellington to deliver a fibre-to-the-home solution to eligible residents.  The total project cost is approximately $2 million and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2020 with direct fibre connections available to approximately 270 homes and businesses within the communities of Yatton, Creek Bank and Goldstone.

“As a telecommunications company serving rural Ontario for over 60 years, NFTC is proud to be partnering with SWIFT to provide fibre optic connectivity to underserved areas,” says Grant Roughley, Vice President, NFTC. “This project is part of NFTC’s on-going commitment to bring the world’s fastest communications technology to rural communities.”

Connectivity from the newly funded projects will deliver the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) set megabits per second upload and download rate of 50/10, and in most areas internet speed up to 1 gigabit per second. 
The projects are part of SWIFT’s $209 million Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan.
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. 

Media Contact:

Melissa O’Brien
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology
melissa.obrien@swiftruralbroadband.ca  
226.256.1640

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