From left, Pelham Town Councillor Wayne Olson, Mayor Marv Junkin, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Regional Councillor for Lincoln Rob Foster, and Accipiter Radar Technologies president and CEO Tim Nohara welcome the news of SWIFT broadband internet coming to rural Pelham. DON RICKERS

Some 5000 homes, farms, and businesses to be connected

The Ford government asserts it is making good on its commitment to connect every Niagara community to broadband internet.

Joined by a small group of local politicians, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff was at Accipiter Radar Technologies on Highway 20 West before Christmas, announcing a $17.9 million initiative to build three new infrastructure networks in Niagara. The construction will provide rural farms and businesses in the region with high-speed, fibre-optic internet connections, helping them to grow their operations and access services online.

The installation will also allow rurally located youth to complete school homework assignments and do web-based research from home.

The work that is now underway to connect some 4,800 rural addresses in Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Pelham, and Wainfleet should be completed by the end of 2022. Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), a not-for-profit corporation, has been awarded the contract for the installation, and will work with local internet providers such as Bell, Cogeco, and Niagara Regional Broadband.

Ottawa and Queen’s Park are each contributing $3.5 million. To date, some $255 million has been invested by the federal and provincial governments, along with the private sector, to bring high-speed internet to 58,000 households and businesses in southwestern Ontario through SWIFT.

“By drawing on the collective voice of municipalities, fast, reliable internet service will be brought to communities across southwestern Ontario,” said Regional Councillor and SWIFT board member Robert Foster. “I am proud of this legacy. This is a great start, and I thank the Ontario government and MPP Oosterhoff for advocating for the expansion of rural broadband.  I look forward, both as a SWIFT board member and as a Regional Councillor, to the next steps to bring improvements across Niagara.”

Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin said that, “the expansion of high-speed internet to Fenwick is great news for our local families, farms, and businesses. I am glad there will be shovels in the ground on this project very soon.”

I am glad there will be shovels in the ground on this project very soon

Dr. Tim Nohara, President and CEO of Accipiter Radar Technologies, said that, “over a decade ago, Accipiter invested in expanding the Niagara Regional Broadband Network fibre infrastructure from E.L. Crossley Secondary School to its facility here on Highway 20 in Fenwick. I am pleased that this investment is now being leveraged to bring service to residents to our immediate north and west. That’s what shared infrastructure is all about. Thanks to MPP Oosterhoff and all levels of government for working to improve our local infrastructure.”

The Ontario government has proclaimed its intention to invest nearly $4 billion in broadband infrastructure, in order to connect every region of the province with access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. The Province says that this move represents the largest single investment in high-speed internet by any government in Canadian history.