Chatham-Kent tech company TekSavvy Solutions Inc. has signed on to build a fibre-optic network for Delaware Nation in the fall.
The network will bring high-speed Internet to the First Nation community.
“We are thrilled to make this announcement today, as the project has been in the works for some time,” Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) board chair David Mayberry said in a media release. “It’s great news for the community and we are proud to be taking the next steps in partnership with Delaware Nation to provide the community with access to quality broadband services.”
SWIFT is leveraging approximately $460,000 in funding contributions received from its municipal partners to support the awarded project. TekSavvy has also committed approximately $215,000 to the $675,000 joint venture.
“The project, once completed, will provide the community with access to modern broadband infrastructure capable of delivering Internet speed up to 1 gigabit per second and will allow Delaware Nation to act as their own Internet service provider providing services directly to their community,” said Barry Field, executive director, SWIFT.
The 14-kilometre fibre-optic network will be built and maintained by TekSavvy and will act as a backbone and feeder network to provide advanced broadband services to businesses, homes and community buildings within the First Nation.
“The fibre optic project will assist Delaware Nation by providing one-third of our community residents, businesses and our government operations with the ability to access fast, reliable high-speed broadband services. It will also bring our community one step closer to the long-term goal of being our own Internet service provider. Most importantly, the new technology will open up the world to our youth and digitally showcase the opportunities available to them today,” Delaware Nation Chief Denise Stonefish said.
“TekSavvy has a strong focus on partnering with local groups and governments to bring high speed Internet services to new communities in Southwestern Ontario,” Charlie Burns, chief technology officer at TekSavvy, said. “We are very excited to be working with the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown and SWIFT on this initiative and look forward to continuing together as we move toward implementation this fall.”
The newly announced project is part of SWIFT’s $209 million Southwestern Ontario broadband expansion plan and is supported by funding contributions received from its municipal partners.
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is a non-profit regional broadband project initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to subsidize the construction of high-speed broadband networks across Southwestern Ontario.
Fibre RFP issued for C-K
Meanwhile, SWIFT officials announced they have issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the construction of approximately $10.4 million worth of broadband infrastructure within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
“SWIFT is proud to announce that many more residents in Chatham-Kent will soon have access to high-speed internet,” Field said. “With today’s announcement we are looking forward to continuing to work with the municipality and our service providers to create new opportunities for families and businesses as we move forward in addressing the region’s connectivity challenges.”
“Current events have demonstrated that once again, access to high speed Internet service is vital to our rural residents,” says Darrin Canniff, Mayor, Chatham-Kent. “This is a very positive development.”
SWIFT will leverage approximately $3.4 million in funding contributions received from its municipal partners to support up to two thirds of the eligible costs for awarded projects. SWIFT is also working with Chatham-Kent to secure a loan of up to $3.6M to top up available funding to maximize the total value of the project and its projected return on investment.
“Today is an exciting day as we take the next step forward to supply rural Chatham-Kent with reliable, accessible Internet with our partnership with SWIFT.” Jamie McGrail, Chatham-Kent SWIFT Board member.
Prequalified service providers have until Nov. 13 to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas.
All compliant proposals will be evaluated against an assessment criteria to identify high-quality projects.
In previous Chatham Voice articles, municipal officials said they expect to see RFPs submitted by TekSavvy, Bell Canada, possibly Cogeo, and others.
Don Shropshire, CAO for the municipality, said the three aforementioned companies have all been laying fibre optic cable in parts of Chatham-Kent.
“SWIFT would review the RFPs and there could be one, two, three or more contracts awarded,” he said.
READ MORE: SWIFT Internet focusing on C-K