Canada and Ontario Increasing Access to High-Speed Internet Service in Essex County
More rural Ontarians will benefit from access to high-speed internet service
The governments of Ontario and Canada, in partnership with Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc., are investing more than $5.3 million to increase access to fast, reliable high-speed internet to more than 3,400 homes, farms, and businesses in Essex County.
“Providing reliable internet access is especially important for rural communities to prosper in our increasingly digital world,” said Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Today’s important announcement will ensure that thousands of homes, businesses, and farms in Essex County can connect to essential online services and enjoy the additional economic opportunities made available through high-speed internet.”
The federal and provincial governments are each committing $1.4 million to support the construction of broadband infrastructure that will provide access to high-speed internet service for 1,600 homes, farms and businesses in the communities of Edgars, Gesto, Marshfield, Pleasant Valley, Arner, East Harrow, Levergood Beach, Belcreft Beach, Comet, Seymour Beach, Lypps Beach, and Ambassador Beach by June 2023.
“I am proud our government continues to deliver on our commitment to expand access to high-speed internet to rural communities across the province,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Building new broadband infrastructure in Essex County will help build Ontario and strengthen rural communities by helping people stay in touch with loved ones, enabling them to access the supports they need while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.”
In addition, both governments are each committing more than $1.2 million to support construction of an additional infrastructure network that will provide access to high-speed internet service for more than 1,800 homes, farms, and businesses in the communities of Mount Carmel, Wigle, Blytheswood, Oakland and Staples by June 2023.
Providing access to high-speed internet in these communities brings Ontario one step closer to delivering in its goal to connect every community with high-speed internet access by the end of 2025, while also building stronger rural communities and laying the foundation for long-term economic growth.
“I’m really pleased to see this project in Essex as it will help connect many businesses and residents who have been without proper high-speed internet access,” said Anthony Leardi, MPP for Essex. “This investment will bring new opportunities, allow families to connect and create potential for growth, while building on our government’s efforts to expand high-speed internet access throughout rural Ontario.”
The contracts to expand broadband services in Essex County were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation, initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario. More than $255 million has been invested by the governments of Canada and Ontario and the private sector to bring high-speed internet to more than 63,000 homes and businesses in Southwestern Ontario through SWIFT by the end of 2025.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are each contributing more than $63 million to SWIFT through the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – Small Communities Fund.
- On July 29, 2021, a Canada-Ontario broadband partnership was announced. This agreement will bring high-speed internet access to more than 280,000 households across Ontario through a total investment of more than $1.2 billion, co-funded equally by both levels of government.
- The Ontario Government has committed nearly $4 billion to bring high-speed internet access to every corner of the province by the end of 2025. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
- In 2021, Ontario passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 to help speed up construction of broadband projects. Ontario is also helping to remove barriers, duplication and delays, making it easier and faster to build high-speed internet infrastructure through the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022, which was passed unanimously by the Legislature on April 11, 2022. This legislation helps ensure underserved and unserved communities across the province have access to reliable high-speed internet sooner and will help the government achieve its commitment to connect every region with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.
- Expanding access to broadband and cellular service is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.