The province announced today that an RFP worth over $5 million will result in a major improvement to Caledon’s high-speed internet infrastructure.
Issued by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. (SWIFT), the RFP includes contributions from all three levels of government – and a local investment of over $600,000 from the Town of Caledon.
“We have long advocated that this is an essential service and now the pandemic has underscored it,” Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson said. “I’m thrilled that our dream of town-wide access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet is that much closer to reality. I want to thank our provincial and federal governments, our SWIFT partners and members of council for all their support.”
As part of the RFP process, prequalified service providers submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in Caledon. After the RFP closes on June 6, proposals will be assessed, and contracts will be finalized with highest scoring bidder(s). Further announcements – including construction timelines – will be made once the RFP closes and contracts finalized.
“This is a huge return on investment for the taxpayers of Caledon and it is critical if we are to grow our local economy,” Thompson said. “We’ve got so many amazing entrepreneurs and small business people here – you think of our craft beer and cider producers, home-based consultants, tourism operators and more — and they need good internet if they are going to continue to grow and prosper.”
Through its contribution the Town of Caledon is able to leverage additional funds from SWIFT, which in the end represents a project ROI greater than eight times over. The goal of the RFP, which was issued on March 9, 2020, is to solicit interest from internet service providers who can best exceed the CRTC’s Universal Service Objective of 50 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up for eligible areas in Caledon. Eligible funding areas are viewable on an interactive online map on the SWIFT website (swiftruralbroadband.ca). On this map property owners can enter their address to see if they are located in an underserved area.
This announcement follows recent announcements about similar investments by the town in internet infrastructure in the south Bolton Industrial area and the Caledon Trailway, and are important steps towards fulfilling one of the top priorities in the Council Work Plan to enhance high-speed internet connectivity.