Minister of Infrastructure unveils investment for rural broadband services

Ontario Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton, announcing the provincial funding for the SWIFT broadband internet project at Mapleview Agri Limited near Palmerston. May 23rd, 2019. (Photo by Ryan Drury)

The Ontario government’s broadband tour stopped in Palmerston Thursday morning.

Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton confirmed that Wellington County is an area where the commitment of $63.7 million to Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology will help get everyone connected.

McNaughton joined local politicians and mayors from the area at Mapleview Agri Limited near Palmerston to announce the province’s commitment to bring the SWIFT broadband service to rural Ontarians.     He said the project is vitally important to people in rural areas like Wellington County.

“People that aren’t connected are disadvantaged. As I said, this is about leveling the playing field between rural Ontario and urban Ontario,” he said. “This is a significant investment, nearly 64 million dollars on behalf of the province.”

McNaughton said they want rural residents and businesses to be able to stream high-speed internet from their homes, farms and businesses. He says the project is a partnership between all three levels of government.

“This is a part of a $190 million investment between all levels of government. This will go a long way to connecting tens of thousands of people in rural southwestern Ontario,” he said.

McNaughton was joined by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman for the announcement.

MPP Pettapiece said that this service will be vitally important.

“We can grow out here if we’re allowed to do that and we have the tools that allow us to grow,” said Pettapiece. “This is certainly one we’ve needed for a long time. It’s so frustrating even when you’re talking to someone on your cellphone and it get dropped.”

In terms of key issues for his constituents, Pettapiece said broadband service for rural customers was very high on the list.

“All over the riding, not just on farms, they want to get connected to the rest of the world,” said Pettapiece. “Businesses in rural Ontario aren’t just doing business here, they’re doing business all over the world.”

Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece makes comments regarding the province’s investment into the SWIFT broadband service project. May 23rd, 2019 (Photo by Ryan Drury)