Funding feeds rural hunger for fibre optics

When SWIFT received $180 in combined funding from the Governments of Canada and Ontario through the New Building Canada – Small Communities Fund in July 2016, media coverage highlighted the critical need for fast, reliable broadband in rural communities.

Allan Thompson, Mayor of Caledon and member of the SWIFT Board of Directors, gave an excellent example of why broadband matters to agriculturally-driven rural economies, drawn from his personal experience:

Last year, Allan Thompson, the mayor of Caledon and a farmer, broke the spear on his corn planter. He went to his local John Deere dealership for a replacement part, but none was available at any of the six outlets in his region, nor at a depot in Grimsby. There were 80 sets, however, in a warehouse in Dallas.

With rain threatening and council business looming the following week, Thompson’s planting window was closing fast. He decided he’d order the part from the U.S., but needed a makeshift work-around for the time being. For an extra $80, John Deere’s plant in Moline, Ill., sent the part’s 3D specs to the implement dealer in Elmira. Broadband service there, however, was not robust enough to receive the file, so staff had to drive to Waterloo to download it, then have the temporary part manufactured, within hours, at a local machine shop.

That kind of intelligent parts manufacturing, in which data rides down a fibre optic cable to a local manufacturer — instead of heavy parts aboard trucks on a highway — is the future, says Thompson. Big companies like Magna, Case and Caterpillar are already riding that wave, he said, and is another reason the rural Ontario needs better broadband service.

Take a tour of our site while you’re here to learn more about how we’re making #broadbandforeveryone a reality for southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date as Phase I of the project moves forward.

Click here to read the full article with Allan Thompson’s original quote.