First Broadband Projects This Summer

Written by Posted On Saturday, 03 February 2018 13:03

Part of the federal government’s initiative to ensure every home in Canada is connected to fast internet is set to start taking shape this summer.

SWIFT – Southwestern Integrated Fiber Technology – the body vested with the responsibility of ensuring all Southwestern Canadians are connected to ultra-high speed internet – has approved 28 telecommunication providers to vie for the contracts to be issued by the government to make the vision a reality. The contracts will be issued over the course of the next 20 years – time the government estimates it will take to ensure all households, businesses and farms in the region have access to high-speed broadband.

According to SWIFT, the first projects are to commence in June this year.

While addressing the media, SWIFT chair, Gerry Marshall, was ecstatic about the expected events. Gerry was jubilant in announcing the project was finally going into the next phase. The goal to ensure every business, home and farm in Southwestern Ontario has high-speed internet is now one step closer, he said.

So far, Queen’s park and Ottawa have committed a collective sum of $180M to the initiative. Norfolk has also contributed to the cause by donating $400,000. 

Earlier during the week, Norfolk’s mayor -Charlie Luke – made a statement regarding SWIFT’s progress. He expressed his enthusiasm claiming he had started noticing some life in the not-for-profit organization. Although a lot of time had passed, SWIFT was gearing up for action and was making plans to get started, some of which included buying fiber cables.

In a different interview from Norfolk, more specifically its CAO – David Cribbs – more information about SWIFT’s potential plans was revealed. According to David, SWIFT is most likely to unveil spot projects that will cater to the connection of several hundred properties simultaneously.

While speaking to the Norfolk council, David also addressed the question of the date of completion of the projects in Norfolk. The project duration is uncertain, he said. It might be completed in the summer or any time during the next four years. SWIFT however plans to have all projects completed by 2040.

According to Geoff Hogan - SWIFT’s CEO – the broadband project will grant all Ontario communities the same benefits accorded to other regions with high speed internet as well as technological advances that come with the package. In order to unlock Ontario’s economic potential and foster growth in the communities; a fully integrated high speed network is key, he said.

Another indication the project is taking off is SWIFT’s search for a project CAO. The successful candidate will be expected to work remotely and foresee the project’s operations without any commuting. Attached to the position is an attractive salary of $130,000.

Some of the firms approved to bid for the contracts include Major telecom providers such as Rogers Communications, Cogeco Connexion, Xplornet Communications and Bell Canada. Some local companies such as Silo wireless, Eastlink, Brant Municipal Enterprises and Execulink telecom have also been awarded the green light. All Canadian companies are eligible to be vetted and to bid for the contracts.

Once the project is successful, the average speeds available in Southwestern Canada will match those offered in urban centers by top 
Toronto Internet Service Providers e.g Bell Canada, Rogers Inc and Acanac. As a result, Southwestern Canada will become one of the most connected regions in the country.

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