Expanding Rural Broadband in Niagara

Published on January 28, 2021

Beamsville - The Government of Ontario, in partnership with the federal government, marked the signing of all contracts for broadband infrastructure this week that will deliver reliable Internet access to nearly 5,629 homes and businesses across rural Niagara.

Both levels of government have each committed up to $4.4 million to create more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of Southwestern Ontario through an improved, modern broadband network.

Construction of the infrastructure network is expected to be up and running with service expected to start through the second half of 2022. These projects are valued at $21.2 million and will deliver reliable internet access to more homes and businesses in underserved areas of Niagara. The contracts to expand fibre-optic broadband services in Niagara were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario.

"The construction of broadband infrastructure in Niagara will help businesses to expand, create new job opportunities and connect more people to the services and information they need," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

"Our government recognizes the importance of expanding broadband connectivity to our rural and remote areas and we are making it happen."

"These investments will mean more access to high-speed internet for my constituents in Niagara West," said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

"Since first being elected, I promised to advocate for investments in rural broadband, and the signing of these contracts demonstrates that concrete action is being taken for those living in rural parts of the riding. I will keep working with my colleagues, the Minister and Parliamentary Assistant's for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, to invest in rural broadband in Niagara."

"The expansion of broadband is a welcome announcement for the residents of Niagara," said Wayne Olsen, Councillor for the Town of Pelham, and a local advocate for rural connectivity.

"We have had rural students move into town to get better access to Internet. Small businesses are creating new business models based on online access. Local migrant workers rely on the Internet to keep in touch with their families. More and more of our local agricultural operations are based on online access."

"Increasing access to reliable broadband service is at the forefront of our province's economic recovery and is critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our rural communities," said David Mayberry, SWIFT Board Chair.

"Today's newly announced $21.2 million investment in fibre-optic broadband will bring increased employment opportunities and significant economic benefits to Niagara. We would like to thank the Governments of Ontario and Canada for their ongoing support, as we continue to work together to accelerate the expansion of broadband infrastructure across Southwestern Ontario."

Work continues to bridge the gaps in broadband access in Southwestern Ontario, as part of a combined federal/provincial 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.