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Ont. gov’t invests in rural broadband

Ont. gov’t invests in rural broadband

The provincial government is committing up to $63.7 million to SWIFT

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The provincial government is helping Norfolk County residents access more reliable broadband.

Today, Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton announced the government is investing up to $63.7 to Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), to help the residents and business owners of Norfolk County join the digital economy.

“I’ve heard too many stories about parents sitting in fast-food restaurant parking lots or going to the local library to get Wi-Fi for their kids’ homework,” he said in a statement. “We want rural residents and businesses to be able to stream high-speed Internet from their homes, farms and businesses.

“I’m proud to say we are keeping our commitments by investing in things that matter to people. Better broadband service is coming to Norfolk County.”

Local members of the ag community are pleased with the government’s announcement.

Reliable Internet speeds and data sharing is crucial forthe industry, said Bob Vogelzang, a cash crop producer from Waterford, Ont.

“I think, as (ag) technology gets more sophisticated, it’s going to need more Internet and faster speeds,” he told Farms.com. “If you look at dairy farmers with robotic milkers, they need reliable Internet to be able to upload the data from their cows. Most of the equipment already connects to the Internet and I would expect that to continue.”

Just having better Internet capabilities for day-to-day use would make life easier, said Michelle Sackrider, who raises beef and sheep with her husband in La Salette, Ont.

“My husband does a lot of research, so he’s always browsing online,” she told Farms.com. “And you think nowadays lots of people do banking and shopping online anyway, so improving our Internet access is a welcomed piece of news.”

The investment is part of the government’s overall commitment of $315 million to bring better communication channels to rural Ontario.

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