Improved Internet Service Coming for 5,000 Homes in Essex County

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Broadband infrastructure is set to improve in Essex County.

On Friday, the federal and provincial governments announced contracts have been signed for $19-million worth of work through the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project — connecting 5,173 more homes and businesses in Essex County to fast, reliable, internet.

Barry Field is the executive director for SWIFT he says the funding will pay for five projects that will provide stronger connections for roughly 14,000 people.

"Two-hundred and fifty-nine kilometers of fiber throughout those regions with the projects themselves spread through Lakeshore, Leamington, Kingsville and The Town of Essex," he added.

Field says the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a brighter light on an existing problem.

"You've got people working from home, trying to do home schooling, if you don't have access to internet it's obviously extremely difficult to do," he says. "We've had reports of people who drive to Tim Horton's to get online to download and upload homework, which is not really acceptable."

Work will get underway before the New Year, according to Field.

"The earliest ones will start next month and the construction will happen through 2021 into 2022 with two of the projects being completed in 2021 late in the fall," he says.

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario.

The work is part of a combined $191-million investment to bring fast, reliable internet to thousands of homes and businesses in the region.

— with files from AM800's Kristy Lee Varley.