LISTEN: High-Speed Internet Expansion Underway in Lighthouse Cove

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More than 500 homes and businesses in the Lighthouse Cove area are finally getting better broadband service

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology or SWIFT announced TekSavvy Solutions has broken ground on the project and it's expected to be completed by October.

Melissa O'Brien is the communications manager for SWIFT.  She tells The Afternoon News the subsidized program continues to identify more areas in need of improved service.

"We definitely do hear from residents across Southwestern Ontario and some within Essex County that are looking for greater connectivity," she says. "We are working with the ISP [Internet Service Providers] and the government to address those issues as quickly as possible."

County Warden Gary McNamara is excited to see the first of five projects get underway.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified a problem that rural resident have been dealing with for years.

"There's so much demand per household in dealing with what would be a normal day to day operation like going to school or work; now it's all done from home," he added.

McNamara says recent funding announcements show more projects will be coming.

"The provincial governments announcing in their recent budget $2.8-billion and the federal government adding another $1-billion to make sure that Essex County continues to build on broadband that is dearly needed," he says.

Lighthouse Cove is one of five projects that will lay 260 km of new fibre optic cable to bring high-speed internet to 5,173 homes in Essex County by 2022 at a cost of $19-million.

Internet Service Providers TekSavvy and Cogeco have won bids to complete those projects with SWIFT providing close to $9-million in subsidies.

Resident who want to report their internet speed for future projects or check to see if they're in a project area can visit www.swiftruralbroadband.ca.

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