mpp lisa thompson announces more rural broadband investments

MPP Lisa Thompson announces more rural broadband investments

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson was in Gorrie at Watson’s Home Hardware on November 25 to announce another round of local rural broadband investments.

3.8 million dollars is being invested to help 1,570 families, farms and businesses in the area which includes Wroxeter, Gorrie, Fordwich, and many more. Thompson says the project is a big team effort involving all levels of government and other significant players as well, including SWIFT and local providers.

“We couldn’t do it without our local telecoms, as well, and I give a shout out to Tuckersmith, and Hay, and Wightman, and Hurontel, because they’re equal partners in ensuring that Huron County gets connected,” Thompson said.

With respect to the ongoing province-wide broadband investments, Thompson says announcements like this maintains the province’s bold timeline for connecting everyone.

“We have a goal, provincially, to have everyone connected by 2025, and when I see communities like Marnoch getting connected, that really is demonstrating how, when all levels of government are working together, every side road will get connected, and we should all have hope because of that,” added Thompson.

On top of serving as MPP for Huron-Bruce, Thompson is also the current provincial Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. So, she says she knows how critical internet service has become to everyone in all corners of Ontario.

“In today’s age, everyone finds it essential to have connectivity that they can count on. Premier Ford understands that, and our government, because of his understanding, is directed to make sure by 2025, we all have that connectivity that we can count on,” Thompson concluded.

Huron County Warden Glen McNeil echoed Thompson’s sentiments, as he stated that no one should be counted out just because they’re not in urban centres.

“No residents in Ontario, regardless of where they choose to live, should be disadvantaged with the lack of internet connectivity. For the businesses in rural Ontario, specifically here in Huron County, to the residents, to the youth that use this as a learning tool, it is tremendously significant, and we are very fortunate to have all levels of government collaborating with this,” McNeil states. “It doesn’t come without a lot of communication, a lot of awareness, at all levels. When we understand the need, and do our part to work together, to collaborate and make it happen, that’s what we want for residents of Huron County.”

“Communities being serviced include Summerhill, Henfryn, Thames Road, Lumley, Hurondale, Wroxeter, Gorrie and Fordwich. Both levels of government have each committed nearly $1.6 million to these projects. In addition, both governments combined to invest more than $676,000 to support construction of additional infrastructure networks in Huron County, to provide access to high-speed internet service to more than 170 families, farms and businesses in the community of Marnoch. With the support of investments from the County of Huron, construction is also underway of broadband infrastructure to provide access to high-speed internet service for 310 families, farms and businesses in rural areas near Blue Water Beach, and in rural areas south of the community of Benmiller by June 2023,” a release from the province shares.

“Providing reliable internet access is especially important for rural communities to prosper in our increasingly digital world,” says Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Today’s announcement will ensure that thousands of homes, businesses, and farms in Huron County can connect to essential online services and enjoy the additional economic opportunities made available through high-speed internet.”

“Together with our community partners, SWIFT continues to increase access to high-speed internet service across Southwestern Ontario,” adds Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “The new high-speed connections that are being made through the completion of these fibre-optic projects in Huron County will provide residents with access to greater digital opportunities, help businesses to expand and further support economic growth throughout the region. We would like to thank the federal and provincial governments for the ongoing support as we continue to work together to accelerate the expansion of broadband infrastructure to bring greater connectivity to many more rural and small-town communities.”

Huron County Warden Glen McNeil at a rural broadband investment announcement at Watson’s Home Hardware in Gorrie. November 25, 2022 (Photo by Ryan Drury)

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