High Speed Broadband

The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) has recognized that universal access to high-speed broadband connectivity is fundamental to the continued relevance and future prosperity of small urban/rural communities in Southwestern Ontario.

The WOWC Economic Development Strategic Plan recognizes the significance of broadband connectivity to enabling communities in Southwestern Ontario to compete in the globalized economy.

Broadband has become an essential service that is necessary to encourage economic growth and stability, modernize and streamline the delivery of health and social services, provide greater educational opportunities, increase capacity to administer and govern institutions, improve the environment, and create fairness and opportunity for everyone.

To address broadband service gaps throughout the region, Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) was initiated in 2011 by the combined connectivity interests of the WOWC.

Delivered in partnership with member municipalities and the government of Ontario and Canada, SWIFT is committed to improving access to high-speed internet services across Southwestern Ontario.

In January 2020, SWIFT in partnership with the federal and provincial governments and private sector investors announced a combined investment of $35 million to deliver high-speed internet to more than 10,700 underserved homes and businesses across the counties of Norfolk, Lambton and Wellington.

Now in the third phase of its broadband expansion plan, SWIFT has issued nearly $197 million in Request for Proposals (RFPs) to expand broadband access throughout Southwestern Ontario.

The WOWC remains supportive of the SWIFT model and is actively involved in SWIFT governance through our 15 WOWC appointments to the SWIFT Board and through SWIFT’s regular and ongoing dialogue with the WOWC Caucus and its CAOs.