WELLINGTON COUNTY – A multimillion dollar rural internet infrastructure project is now complete eight months ahead of schedule in Wellington County.
On Thursday, Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) and the province announced a $2.7 million high-speed network is delivering improved internet access to more than 670 households in Ariss, Ponsonby and Inverhaugh.
SWIFT is a non-profit regional broadband project that aims to subsidize broadband projects to improve connectivity in rural Southwestern Ontario.
A total of $1.8 million in federal and provincial funding was awarded by SWIFT to EH!tel Networks to develop the broadband infrastructure for the Ariss project.
Barry Field, executive director of SWIFT, said in a press release that EH!Tel Networks was able to accelerate the rollout of this project and finished it early.
“Construction of the new network, which broke ground in April of last year, was completed eight months ahead of schedule and is now providing residents with improved and enhanced access to high-quality broadband services,” Field said.
In a press release, warden Kelly Linton stressed how essential access to reliable internet has been during the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen businesses go online, remote learning for children, medical appointments go virtual and many people are working from home,” Linton said.
“It’s critical that rural areas have access to high speed internet. On behalf of county council, I am pleased that construction is now complete on the SWIFT/EH!Tel Ariss project.”
The province also announced the beginning of a $1 million project to connect almost 300 homes and businesses in Eden Mills. The federal and provincial government have each committed up to $270,000 to this project.
“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ensuring equitable access to high-speed internet across our region,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT board chair.
“We are proud of this achievement as we continue to drive forward with our broadband expansion plans in Wellington County and across Southwestern Ontario.”