Contracts awarded for broadband projects in Wellington County

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Contracts have been awarded to expand high-speed broadband internet services to nearly 2,900 homes and businesses in the townships of Guelph-Eramosa, Centre Wellington, Mapleton and Wellington North.

“Access to broadband services is essential in today’s digital world, that is why we are pleased to announce that many more residents in Wellington County will soon have greater access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” stated Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) board chair David Mayberry on Jan. 20.

“SWIFT is committed to improving network coverage in rural communities across Southwestern Ontario and looks forward to continuing to expand broadband services within our region.”

A total of $7.5 million in provincial and federal funding has been awarded by SWIFT to support four broadband infrastructure projects across 15 under-served communities within Wellington County.

The total value of the projects is approximately $12 million, including nearly $4.5 million in contributions from service providers.

Requests for proposals for the projects were issued in August.

“Reliable internet throughout Wellington County’s urban and rural communities is essential for both residents and businesses,” says Wellington County Warden Kelly Linton.

“Wellington County is excited to move forward with this first phase of high-speed broadband expansion and we look forward to the improvements and opportunities that will result from the SWIFT initiative.”

Minto Mayor George Bridge, economic development chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and a SWIFT board member, stated,  “We have been working towards this action for some time now and it is great to see this next phase of infrastructure being built in our communities.

“SWIFT, and the results from this partnership, will not only benefit residents but will also help our businesses be more competitive, innovative and connected both locally and internationally.”

SWIFT is making the investments through the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund, a joint federal and provincial infrastructure funding program, and in partnership with its member municipalities.

“The projects we are investing in today will provide families and businesses, particularly in rural communities, with access to faster and better broadband services,” said Barry Field, SWIFT executive director.

Field says the projects will expand broadband infrastructure in under-served areas to “improve the delivery of high-speed connectivity throughout the county.”

Cogeco Connexion is among the service providers that will receive funding from SWIFT for two fibre-optic broadband infrastructure projects.

The company has been awarded approximately $4.5 million to deploy fibre cabling along more than 112 kilometres of under-served roads in the Townships of Guelph-Eramosa and Centre Wellington.

The newly-expanded fibre optic network will connect approximately 1,950 homes and businesses in the communities of Eden Mills, Brucedale, Centre Inn, Everton, Oustic, Simpson Corners, Shands, Spier, Pine Meadows, Maple Leaf Acres and Belwood.

Services will be available in mid-2021 for residents of Eden Mills, with the remaining project areas expected to be up and running by late-2021.

The total collective value of the fibre-to-the-home projects is estimated at $7.4 million.

“Wellington County is a priority for Cogeco Connexion and we are proud to have been selected by SWIFT to proceed with our proposed expansion in the townships of Guelph Eramosa and Centre Wellington,” said Antoine Shiu, vice-president, business solutions and market expansion at Cogeco Connexion.

“Being community focused is deeply-entrenched in our core corporate values. As such, we are thrilled to fulfill the county’s vision for a powerful, reliable and affordable fibre network – as well as help meet the Government of Ontario’s objective of ensuring all people and businesses in the province have access to high-speed internet.”

$1.7 million in funding has also been awarded to EHtel Networks to support a hybrid project that will use a combination of both fibre and wireless technologies to significantly expand broadband access to portions of Inverhaugh, Ponsonby and Ariss, providing high-speed connectivity to more than 670 residents.

The total project cost is approximately $2.6 million and will require the service provider to install fibre-optic lines along 33km of under-served roads in Guelph-Eramosa and Centre Wellington.

EHtel Networks’ project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

“EHtel Networks is excited and appreciative to have been selected by SWIFT to construct a fibre-to-the-home network in Ariss, Inverhaugh, and surrounding areas,” said sales manager Wendy Peeters.

“We look forward to working with SWIFT and the community to [provide] exceptionally reliable internet speeds of up to 1Gbps, with IPTV and home phone.”

Northern Wellington

North Frontenac Telephone Company (NFTC) will receive $1.3 million in funding to deploy fibre-cabling along more than 41km of underserviced roads in areas of Mapleton, Wellington North and Centre Wellington.

The total project cost is approximately $2 million and it is expected to be up and running by the end of 2020 with direct fibre connections to almost 300 rural homes in the area between Wallenstein and Arthur (including communities such as Alma, Yatton, Creek Bank and Goldstone).

“As a telecommunications company serving rural Ontario for over 60 years, NFTC is proud to be partnering with SWIFT to provide fibre optic connectivity to under-served areas,” said NFTC vice president Grant Roughley.

“This project is part of NFTC’s ongoing commitment to bring the world’s fastest communications technology to rural communities.”

Connectivity from the newly-funded projects will deliver the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) set megabits per second upload and download rate of 50/10, and in most areas internet speed up to 1 gigabit per second. The projects are part of SWIFT’s $209-million Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan.