Major step announced to expand broadband internet in Simcoe County

This program is part of the government’s commitment to expanding access to broadband internet in rural areas

In an effort to expand access to broadband internet in rural Ontario, the Ontario government has announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc.

This makes way for up to $27.9 million in broadband infrastructure expansion.

“Today, access to broadband internet is more than just a ‘nice to have’… it is an economic imperative. Thanks to the expansion of SWIFT across rural Ontario, families and businesses across my riding of Simcoe North will be able to access the high-quality internet connections they need to fully participate and grow in our local economy.” said MPP Jill Dunlop.

The Ontario government’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan is expected to generate up to $1 billion in total investment over five years, resulting in new connections for up to 220,000 homes and businesses.

“As the pandemic has made clear, life in the 21st century requires access to fast, reliable internet in every home,” said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “The funding unlocked by this announcement will deliver broadband for residents and businesses in rural areas of Innisfil. This investment is much needed to help provide all residents with equal opportunity to get online.”

The RFP for Simcoe County closes on September 11. The contract will be awarded and service provider agreement put in place shortly after the RFP closes.

“At a time when people have become more dependent than ever on broadband, having access to high-speed internet is critical,” said Allan Thompson, SWIFT Board Member and the Chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association. “SWIFT, together with our community leaders and
local service providers, is committed to bringing Southwestern Ontario’s underserviced communities online and high-speed internet access to thousands. Today, as result of our public-private partnerships, SWIFT is proud to announce that many more homes and businesses in Simcoe County will soon have greater access to reliable internet services.”

The Ontario government said reliable and affordable broadband internet will allow communities to attract new development, strengthen local economies and create more well-paying jobs and opportunities in rural Ontario.