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Plans for broadband in rural Ont.

Plans for broadband in rural Ont.

Partners have signed a contract to bring improved Internet access to households in Dufferin County and Caledon

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer
Farms.com

In a joint meeting with representatives from federal, provincial and municipal governments, officials announced that a final contract had been signed to bring broadband to Dufferin County and the town of Caledon.

“For too long, Ontarians in many rural parts of the province have been without high speed Internet,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “I'm happy to announce that the final contracts to build broadband infrastructure in Dufferin-Caledon through the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology or SWIFT project has been signed.”

The $16.6 million contract is part of Premier Doug Ford’s broadband and cellular action plan, which leverages support from the private sector and other levels of government to improve connections in underserviced parts of the province.

“When complete, infrastructure will create even more economic and educational opportunities in Dufferin County and the town of Caledon by providing access to affordable, reliable broadband Internet connectivity,” Hardeman explained. “In total, 20,656 more homes and businesses in the area will soon have access to fast, reliable Internet. Construction on the infrastructure is expected to begin in November of 2020 with completion by December of 2021.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for rural communities to stay connected.

“In the last six months, many more people have worked from home, done classes from the kitchen table, shopped online and accessed government services remotely. So it has become more and more important for Canadians to be able to have access to Internet that works. With the final contracts being signed, the SWIFT project can now move forward with construction of broadband infrastructure that'll bring a reliable high-speed Internet connection to the residents of Dufferin County and the town of Caledon,” said Lloyd Longfield, member of Parliament for Guelph.

Hardeman agreed.

“We know that affordable broadband connectivity is essential in rural areas,” he said. “It allows families to stay in touch and connects local businesses with their communities and the world to stay competitive. Many businesses across our province depend on Internet to promote their products or services and to generate revenue through online stores, using social media and apps.”

Federal and provincial partners are continuing to work to improve rural broadband for more regions across Ontario.

Pekic\iStock\Getty Images Plus photo

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