Local News News Walkerton Herald-Times Wingham Advance Times

Province says $36.8 million available to expand Internet access in Grey, Bruce and Huron Counties

(Metro Creative Graphics)

OWEN SOUND – The Ontario government says that there is up to $36.8 million available for the expansion of broadband Internet in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties.

The funds are available as part of a Request for Proposals (RFP) process by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT).

The announcement of the funds was made on June 19 by Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson.

“This is terrific news for residents in the rural areas of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound,” said Walker.

“Through this investment, we can continue to take steps to bridge the digital divide and improve the quality of life for our residents. COVID-19 has reminded us how critical reliable broadband is to work, learn and connect with friends and family.”

Thompson echoed Walker’s sentiments.

“This is indeed welcome news to rural residents in Huron-Bruce, especially during the pandemic,” she said.

In a statement, Allan Thompson, SWIFT board member and chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association welcomed the announcement as access to high-speed Internet is critical for families and businesses in rural Ontario.

“At a time when people have become more dependent than ever on broadband, having access to high-speed internet is critical,” said Thompson.

“As a result of our public-private partnerships, SWIFT is proud to announce that many more homes and businesses in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties will soon have greater access to reliable internet services.”

The RFP for Grey County closes on July 10, Bruce County on Aug. 21 and Huron County on Dec. 4. The contracts will be awarded shortly after.