More Communities in Oxford County to be Connected to Broadband
The Township of Zorra will soon have access to fast, reliable internet
May 31, 2021
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
OXFORD COUNTY – More than 320 homes and businesses in Oxford County are one step closer to fast, reliable internet service due to the beginning of the construction of broadband infrastructure in the community.
Construction of a $5.2 million broadband infrastructure network project has now begun in the northeast section of the Township of Zorra and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses.
The Governments of Canada and Ontario each committed $1.3 million to fund this broadband expansion project to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the county.
“I am proud of the progress our government has made, in collaboration with our partners, towards reaching our goal of connecting all Canadian homes and businesses to high-speed Internet,” said Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Today’s announcement will bring fast and reliable broadband access to more than 320 homes and businesses in Oxford County, giving them access to essential services that are critical to ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of their families. We will continue our work connecting communities to the high-speed internet they need here in southwestern Ontario and across Canada.”
“The construction of broadband infrastructure in the northeast section of Zorra Township is underway, and more people in Oxford County will soon have access to fast, reliable internet service,” said Ernie Hardeman. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and MPP for Oxford. “This is an important step forward in our plan to support better educational opportunities, attract more businesses and create jobs in the county and builds on our government’s commitment to connecting every community in Ontario to broadband internet by 2025.”
The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Oxford 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. To date, 3,190 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario have received access to improved broadband through SWIFT.
“We are pleased to announce that construction is now underway to bring improved broadband service to Oxford County,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “SWIFT, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments, announced a combined investment of $10 million to deliver high-speed internet to 1,700 underserved homes and businesses throughout Oxford County. Today’s announcement marks the start of construction on the first of seven awarded SWIFT projects within the County.”
Efforts continue to bridge the gaps in broadband access in Southwestern Ontario, as part of combined public and private sector investment of more than $191 million to bring fast, reliable and affordable internet to thousands of homes and businesses. This will allow communities to attract new development, strengthen local economies and create more well-paying jobs and opportunities in rural Ontario.
- 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 of the Investing in Canada plan.
- SWIFT Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario that will support the critical expansion of broadband to underserved areas.
- The 2021 Ontario Budget commits a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to ensure that every community in the province has access to reliable broadband by 2025. This brings the Province’s total investment to nearly $4 billion over six years. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in broadband, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
- The Ontario government will continue to expand access to broadband and cellular service through the Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON). It has doubled its investment in the program to $300 million. This multi-year program aims to support approved projects as early as 2021.
- The Province has invested in initiatives to improve connectivity across Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. It has also invested in broadband projects through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Next Generation Network Program.
- 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 the government.