A person typing on their keyboard is seen in this file photo.

$19.3-million worth of broadband upgrades will bring high-speed service to 4,584 households in Chatham-Kent.

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology, or SWIFT, announced work to expand high-speed fibre-optic services throughout the municipality and within Delaware Nation — Moravian of the Thames community.

Chatham-Kent, through contributions to SWIFT, Delaware Nation and service providers, as TekSavvy, are sharing the cost, which supporters of the project see as an investment.

“Today’s newly announced broadband investment will bring greater connectivity to further support online learning, increase work-from-home opportunities and unlock greater economic growth potential for businesses throughout the region,” said David Mayberry, SWIFT board chair.

The Eelŭnaapéewi Lahkéewiit (Delaware Nation) Council is anxious to see the arrival of the service to bring educational and economic opportunities.

Chief Denise Stonefish of Delaware Nation – Moravian of the Thames stated, “this will be a game changer for the Delaware Nation, here at Moraviantown, especially for our youth, who will be the real benefactors of this technology.”

In addition to the newly awarded projects, TekSavvy Solutions was previously awarded a contract to construct a 13 km fibre-optic backbone and feeder network to provide Delaware Nation – Moravian of the Thames community with access to modern broadband infrastructure to enable the First Nation to act as their own internet service provider.

Construction of the $700,000 network is now complete and is capable of delivering internet speeds up to one gigabit per second to the community.

TekSavvy Solutions has been awarded funding to support three fibre-to-the-home projects.

The newly awarded projects will collectively service 99 kilometres of underserved roadway to bring high-speed internet to 1,782 homes and businesses throughout the communities of Mitchell’s Bay, Highgate, Tupperville, Dover Centre, Grande Pointe, Louisville, Kent Bridge, Muirkirk and Duart, as well as in rural areas outside of Wallaceburg, Dresden, Thamesville, Bothwell and Pain Court.

The projects represent a collective total investment of approximately $9.2 million and will be completed with service available between late 2021 and early 2022.

SWIFT has signed an agreement with Cogeco Connexion to deploy fibre cabling along more than 115 kilometres of underserved roadway throughout the communities of Erieau, Erie Beach, Dealtown, North Buxton, Charing Cross, Cedar Springs, Shrewsbury, Rondeau Bay Estates, New Scotland, Rondeau Park and Morpeth to deliver high-speed internet to 2,802 businesses and homes.

Construction of the $9.4 million fibre-to-the-home solution is expected to be completed with service available early-2023.

Today’s newly announced projects are part of SWIFT’s $209 million broadband expansion plan that aims to bring better broadband access to approximately 50,000 underserved homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.