SWIFT cash for Long Point secure
April 6, 2022
Officials expect project to be completed in June.
Government officials reported Wednesday that federal-provincial funding for the extension of high-speed fibre-optic cable into Long Point is secure.
The $1.8-million extension of high-speed internet to the resort community was in jeopardy until this week due to delays in completing the Big Creek bridge project on the Long Point causeway.
However, provincial and federal officials say the funding approved several years ago as the first project in Norfolk under the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is on its way. They expect the project to be completed in June.
“I have long advocated for better internet service in rural Ontario,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett said in a news release. “That’s why I am very pleased to announce this broadband expansion in Norfolk County.
“Hundreds of families and businesses will benefit from this project. Our government remains committed to building critical infrastructure needed to support communities in Haldimand-Norfolk and across the province.”
SWIFT announced funding for the Long Point project three years ago.
In February, Brent Wallace, Norfolk’s manager of information technology services, warned Norfolk council that the $1.2 million grant was in jeopardy due to delays in completing the causeway bridge project.
The fibre-optic cable at issue was to be installed as part of the bridge’s construction. However, Norfolk officials got bogged down in lengthy delays while they secured environmental permits to replace the bridge. Permission was needed, reports to council said, from a number of federal, provincial and local agencies.
The contract for installing the cable has been awarded to Execulink.
Because the SWIFT grant was contingent on delivering high-speed service to Long Point this spring, council agreed in February to lease space on the Port Rowan water tower to Execulink for a period of five years so it could at least send a wireless signal 3.5 kilometres south into Long Point, fulfilling its end of the agreement.
When finished, the SWIFT project in Long Point will provide high-speed internet to 890 homes, farms and businesses.
“The completion enables farms and businesses to attract new customers, grow their operations, and create new jobs while also helping more rural Ontarians connect online to work, learn and access economic and social opportunities,” the Barrett news release says.