Huron County’s SWIFT Participation Unclear
Huron County council has to make a decision by the end of next month on its participation in the SWIFT program.
The program involves all of the counties in Southwestern Ontario working to bring broadband internet service to all of the homes and businesses in Southwestern Ontario.
Huron County approved the project in principle last year but didn’t commit any money. The SWIFT committee has to know by the middle of September who’s in and who is not, in order to quality for Provincial and Federal grants.
Huron County is already much further ahead in providing broadband service than most of the other counties and is only looking for that last mile connection to the more remote areas.
No one knows if the SWIFT program will address that concern or whether Huron have to pay into the project for three or four years without seeing any benefit.
Warden Jim Ginn says the alternative would be for Huron to stay out of the program and simply pay local service providers to extend existing service to the last mile homes and businesses.
According to Ginn, “SWIFT is not to the point where they can give us that information until the rfp’s are out and they know for sure solid costs. But because of their obligation to the Provincial and Federal government for the grant they receive, they have to have the decision made of how many people are in.”
“Question becomes do we go in with the rest of South Western Ontario counties or do we spend our money strictly in our own county and help our service providers. The end line is that we need to get fibre to every home and business in Huron County and we’ll have to decide which is the best way of doing that.”