(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / gunnar3000)

Survey To Help Bring High-Speed Internet To Rural CK

Chatham-Kent is urging local residents in rural areas to take part in a survey, as part of an effort to bring more high-speed internet service to the municipality.

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. (SWIFT) is hosting the survey online to gather information to determine how to invest funds for broadband internet infrastructure, which will help bring ultra-high speed internet to rural homes and businesses across southwestern Ontario.

Matthew Payne, manager of technology services for the municipality, says it’s important for residents in rural parts of CK who do not have access to high-speed internet service, to take part in the survey.

“This survey will help SWIFT determine where they should use the funding and how to build the high-speed internet network, to be able to get everyone connected,” he says.

Chatham-Kent was initially told that, as a community with a population of more than 100,000, it didn’t qualify as part of SWIFT’s project. However, as funding broadened, the municipality met the criteria.

Last year, SWIFT received a $180-million investment from the federal and provincial governments for its high-speed internet initiative. CK is one of hundreds of communities that will benefit from that funding.

“We need support from all levels of government, which we seem to be getting now, to move ahead with this type of project,” Payne says. “We also need input from the citizens and that’s what this survey is about… to make sure when SWIFT builds that network that they’re taking into account everyone’s needs.”

The goal of SWIFT is to build an affordable, open-access, high-speed fibre-optic broadband network throughout southwestern Ontario and the Niagara Region.

Payne says SWIFT has recently drafted a request for proposals to solicit for companies willing to build the broadband internet infrastructure needed to meet the needs of communities like Chatham-Kent.

The survey can be found by clicking here.