First Nation communities join the SWIFT project

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Beausoleil First Nation, Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, Saugeen First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River have joined the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project!

The SWIFT project is building affordable, open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre optic broadband specifically in rural communities. In order for families, students, and businesses to compete and participate on a local and global scale, access to reliable Internet is crucial.

“Many of Ontario’s First Nation communities are still facing infrastructure barriers when it comes to Internet connectivity and broadband access,” says Geoff Hogan, Chief Executive Officer at SWIFT, in a recent blog post. “To ensure that all Ontarians are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age, it is important that the province of Ontario continues to invest in building this critical infrastructure until everyone is connected to an ultra-high speed, fibre optic broadband network.”

Now that these First Nation communities are members of SWIFT, the project has support from more than 1,500 member locations including First Nations, municipalities, hospitals, schools, school boards, and other public and private enterprises.

The Six Nations of the Grand River community alone has more than 14,000 residents that will benefit from high-speed Internet. The community includes Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, and Tuscarora.

In our digital age, reliable Internet is paramount in supporting educational programs, health care services, and other social services. Some of these First Nation communities do have access to the Internet, but the SWIFT project is about improving the connection, making it faster and more affordable for everyone.

“Broadband costs have been a major concern for us,” says Rob Skye, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Manager at Saugeen First Nation. “Although Saugeen First Nation is one of the earliest First Nations Communities to have a Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network installed, the broadband costs are so high in rural areas that it limits the number of individuals that can feasibly connect to the network. We became a member of SWIFT to help us reduce these costs so that we can pass these savings on to our community members and expand our Fibre Network.”

CPC was involved in the launch and inception of the SWIFT project from a public awareness, creative, and funding application standpoint, and we are excited to see how many lives the initiative has touched. Funding from all levels of government equaling $300 million is being invested in the first phase to build the new broadband infrastructure.

Lucas DeClavasio