The leaders of southwestern Ontario municipalities are seeking funding to expand the prosperity base of the region. This includes funding the build of the SWIFT network, a ubiquitous, affordable and an accessible regional ultra-high speed (fibre-based) broadband network. They are also seeking sustainable and more predictable funding from other orders of government for critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail and bus transportation, social housing and high speed Intranet.
"Municipalities with large rural areas face particular challenges," said the newly re-acclaimed chair of the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus, Mayor Randy Hope of Chatham-Kent. "Today, we have made some real progress in addressing them."
Hope was speaking following the adjournment today of the two-day Annual General Meeting and Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus Regular Meeting at the Chatham-Kent John D. Bradley Convention and Exhibition Centre in Chatham, Ontario.
Among the decisions was the incorporation of a new organization to support the implementation of a high capacity, universal fibre optic infrastructure to the entire southwest region. Broadband access is an important tool in economic and social revitalization. Unemployed and underemployed people need broadband access in order to search for jobs or start new businesses. Farmers need broadband access to connect with their supply chain and marketplaces. Small and medium sized businesses need broadband access to market their goods and services, communicate with customers and suppliers, source funding and interact with employees working from home or on the road. Large commercial enterprises rely on broadband access to communicate with head office and peer locations, interact with suppliers and customers, and connect with employees working remotely. Public sector organizations like school boards, hospitals, county and municipal governments, First Nations, and federal and provincial government sites need connection to provide services and support for their students/patients/citizens and employees.
Mayor Hope also announced new collaboration between WOWC and the Mayors of southwestern Ontario cities. "We need to work together to advocate for sustainable funding for our critical infrastructure," said Hope.

More on the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus here.

source: media release, County of Grey