More than 2,500 local families, farms and business to benefit from access to high-speed internet

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $3.5 million to bring fast, reliable high-speed internet to 2,570 families, farms and businesses in Grey and Bruce counties.

In partnership with Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, the completion of construction of broadband infrastructure in Grey County is now providing access to fast, reliable high-speed internet service to more than 1,070 families, farms and businesses in the communities of Holstein, Varney, Orchardville, Maple Lane, Yeovil, Dromore, Tartan, Thistle and Bognor. Both governments combined to invest more than $2.7 million in these projects.

(l-r): Mayor Garry Michi, South Bruce Peninsula; Chris Tsakopoulos, Vice President, Network Build at Xplore; Luke Charbonneau, SWIFT Board Member & Saugeen Shores Mayor and Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers

“Providing reliable internet access is especially important for rural communities to prosper in our increasingly digital world,” said Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Today’s announcement will ensure that thousands of homes, businesses, and farms in Grey and Bruce counties can connect to essential online services and enjoy the additional economic opportunities made available through high-speed internet.”

“I’m proud that our government continues to deliver on our commitment to expand access to high-speed internet in rural communities across the province,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and MPP for Huron – Bruce. “Building this new broadband infrastructure in Grey and Bruce counties is going to help build rural Ontario and strengthen communities by helping people stay connected with loved ones and enable them to access supports they need. This critical infrastructure will have lasting benefits for our entire community.”

In Bruce County, both levels of government combined to invest more than $770,000 to provide access to high-speed internet service to nearly 1,500 families, farms, and businesses in the communities of Sauble Beach and Sauble Beach North. Providing high-speed internet in these communities brings Ontario one step closer to delivering in its goal to connect every community with high-speed internet access by the end of 2025, while also building stronger rural communities.

“Raising a family and living or working in a rural community should not limit anyone to receiving internet access,” said Rick Byers, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.  “I’m really pleased to see these projects in our communities as it will help connect many more businesses and residents to the high-speed internet they need. Thank you to Minister Thompson for bringing this investment forward, an investment that will bring new opportunities for these areas.”

“Access to high-speed internet is essential in today’s highly connected world where just about every ordinary day-to-day activity now relies on a fast internet connection,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “SWIFT, together with the governments of Ontario and Canada, has been expanding broadband service across Southwestern Ontario in partnership with local service providers and today we are pleased to share those 2,570 additional homes and businesses throughout the counties of Grey and Bruce now have access to high-speed internet service.”

The contracts to expand broadband services in Grey and Bruce counties were awarded by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc, a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario. More than $255 million has been invested by the governments of Canada and Ontario and the private sector to bring high-speed internet to more than 63,000 households and businesses in Southwestern Ontario through SWIFT by the end of 2025.

The governments of Canada and Ontario are each contributing more than $63 million to SWIFT through the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – Small Communities Fund.

On July 29, 2021, a Canada-Ontario broadband partnership was announced. This agreement will bring high-speed internet access to more than 280,000 households across Ontario through a total investment of more than $1.2 billion, co-funded equally by both levels of government.

The Ontario Government is investing nearly $4 billion to bring high-speed internet access to every corner of the province by the end of 2025. This proactive approach is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.

In 2021, Ontario passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 to help speed up construction of broadband projects. Ontario is also helping to remove barriers, duplication and delays, making it easier and faster to build high-speed internet infrastructure through the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022, which was passed unanimously by the Legislature on April 11, 2022. This legislation helps ensure underserved and unserved communities across the province have access to reliable high-speed internet sooner and will help the government achieve its commitment to connect every region with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025.

Expanding access to broadband and cellular service is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that are changing the way people and businesses interact with government.