Part of the federal government’s initiative to ensure every home in Canada is connected to fast internet is set to start taking shape this summer. SWIFT – Southwestern Integrated Fiber Technology – the body vested with the responsibility of ensuring all Southwestern Canadians are connected to ultra-high speed internet – has approved 28 telecommunication providers to vie for the contracts to be issued by the government to make the vision a reality. The contracts will be issued over the course of the next 20 years – time the government estimates it will take to ensure all households, businesses and farms in the region have access to high-speed broadband.
According to SWIFT, the first projects are to commence in June this year. While addressing the media, SWIFT chair, Gerry Marshall, was ecstatic about the expected events. Gerry was jubilant in announcing the project was finally going into the next phase.
The goal to ensure every business, home and farm in Southwestern Ontario has high-speed internet is now one step closer, he said. So far, Queen’s park and Ottawa have committed a collective sum of £180M to the initiative. Norfolk has also contributed to the cause by donating £400,000.
Earlier during the week, Norfolk’s mayor -Charlie Luke – made a statement regarding SWIFT’s progress. He expressed his enthusiasm claiming he had started noticing some life in the not-for-profit organization. Although a lot of time had passed, SWIFT was gearing up for action and was making plans to get started, some of which included buying fiber cables.
In a different interview from Norfolk, more specifically its CAO – David Cribbs – more information about SWIFT’s potential plans was revealed. According to David, SWIFT is most likely to unveil spot projects that will cater to the connection of several hundred properties simultaneously. While speaking to the Norfolk council, David also addressed the question of the date of completion of the projects in Norfolk.
The project duration is uncertain, he said. It might be completed in the summer or any time during the next four years. SWIFT however plans to have all projects completed by 2040.
According to Geoff Hogan – SWIFT’s CEO – the broadband project will grant all Ontario communities the same benefits accorded to other regions with high speed internet as well as technological advances that come with the package. In order to unlock Ontario’s economic potential and foster growth in the communities; a fully integrated high speed network is key, he said. Another indication the project is taking off is SWIFT’s search for a project CAO.
The successful candidate will be expected to work remotely and foresee the project’s operations without any commuting. Attached to the position is an attractive salary of £130,000. Some of the firms approved to bid for the contracts include Major telecom providers such as Rogers Communications, Cogeco Connexion, Xplornet Communications and Bell Canada.
Some local companies such as Silo wireless, Eastlink, Brant Municipal Enterprises and Execulink telecom have also been awarded the green light. All Canadian companies are eligible to be vetted and to bid for the contracts. Once the project is successful, the average speeds available in Southwestern Canada will match those offered in urban centers by top Toronto Internet Service Providers e.g Bell Canada, Rogers Inc and Acanac.
As a result, Southwestern Canada will become one of the most connected regions in the country.
Ambition to make high speed broadband available as standard in new developments in Norfolk to be discussed
Tom Garrod, Conservative candidate for Wroxham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives
A series of measures designed to make superfast broadband access in new housing and business developments as ordinary as water and electricity are to be discussed by councillors next week.
A report to Norfolk County Council’s Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee recommends the council uses its influence and powers to ensure that, wherever possible, all new developments incorporate superfast (24mbps+) or preferably ultrafast (up to 1000mbps) broadband connections.
Although Government and the National Planning Policy Framework both support and encourage the inclusion of high speed broadband, there are no statutory requirements which support this aspiration. Tom Garrod, Chairman of the Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee, said: “Our Better Broadband for Norfolk programme has more than doubled superfast broadband access in Norfolk since 2012, but we’re really missing a trick if new developments aren’t being built with superfast broadband available as a minimum. “A fast and reliable broadband connection is a major consideration for people buying or renting a home, as well as business owners and tourists.
While the County Council does not have any direct control over such developments, I feel this committee and council can and should take a coordinating role in getting some practical solutions put in place.” The report recommends the council reviews district planning policies to ensure they promote high speed broadband connectivity and, if not already in place, the committee should work with district councils to propose that wording is incorporated to promote the deployment of fibre broadband. A further recommendation suggests the council should consult with broadband network providers to establish whether its own highways policies and procedures could be amended to improve the pace and scope of fibre installation across the county.
Most broadband infrastructure is installed along roads for ease of access so broadband network providers need to work with highways authorities to build and maintain their networks.
It is hoped that any opportunity to streamline procedures could make including high speed broadband in smaller developments more financially viable, particularly those where existing fibre networks are not available nearby.
Norfolk County Council’s Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee will meet at 10am on Monday, January 22, at County Hall in Norwich.
With vast quantities of turkey consumed, trifles congealing slowly in your arteries, and the will to leave the sofa diminishing with every passing second, it’s time to enjoy some festive TV. So, what is there to enjoy on the gogglebox this Christmas? Plenty.
Here’s a selection of the best.
Doctor Who – BBC1 Christmas Day 5:30pm
In its now traditional Christmas Day special, Doctor Who looks set to ring in some significant changes this year. It’s the end of the road for Peter Capaldi as the titular hero, with Jodie Whittaker being handed the TARDIS key. This is no small matter, as it marks the first time in the show’s half-century on the air that a woman will be cast as the nomadic Time Lord.
This episode also sees the departure of Pearl Mackie, who plays the very likeable Bill Potts, as her brief but enjoyable story arc concludes. Showrunner Steven Moffat is the last to bow out, with a final script that sees Capaldi team up with the first iteration of the Doctor as they try to thwart creatures who are freezing time.
Expect action, monsters, and maybe a few tears.
Call the Midwife – BBC1 Christmas Day (Time TBC)
Another stalwart of Christmas Day is Call the Midwife, which this year sees the ladies battling through the great freeze of the early sixties. There are rumours that it could also see the introduction of the first West Indian midwife, as the show continues to explore the changing social landscape of the times.
Let’s just hope they have some studded tyres for those bikes.
Victoria – ITV Christmas Day 9pm
The current monarch will address the nation at 3pm on Christmas Day, but there’s a good chance that more people will be tuning in later that night to follow the adventures of her predecessor Victoria. In the role that has won her universal acclaim, Gemma Coleman once again brings Queen Victoria to life in a standalone episode that bridges seasons two and three. From the trailers released so far there seems to be much festive merriment and romance, but not everyone will be having a merry Christmas.
30 Years of French and Saunders – BBC1 Christmas Day 10:35pm
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have already achieved legendary status in British comedy, and now to celebrate three decades together they make a welcome return to our screens.
The Christmas special will feature brand new material, alongside classic sketches from their impressive archive. Rumour has it that Joanna Lumley may make an appearance, while the Handmaid’s Tale will receive the usual French & Saunders remake treatment.
Miranda Does Christmas – C4 (Date and time TBC)
After a lengthy absence from television, Miranda Hart is back with what’s billed as a ‘raucous Christmas party with some very special guests’. Details are still a bit thin on the ground as to what form this will take, but we trust that Miranda will deliver the usual mayhem and end with a song or two.
Grandpa’s Great Escape – BBC1 (Date and time TBC)
David Walliams has rather surprisingly carved himself out a career as a hugely popular children’s author.
Several of his books have been turned into TV specials, and this Christmas it’s the turn of Grandpa’s Great Escape. The story follows the tale of an old WW2 ace who is now old, frail, and suffering from Alzheimer’s. After being checked into a retirement home he finds that woman in charge, played by Jennifer Saunders, is up to no good.
So, with his grandson Jack, he plots his escape. Should be great.
Alan Partridge: Why, When, Where, How and Whom? – BBC2 27 December 9pm
It’s been 25 years since Norfolk’s legendary broadcaster, Alan Partridge, gained national prominence with his Knowing Me, Knowing You chat show. Now, with a new BBC series arriving in 2018, we look back on the career of a man who has enraged farmers so much they dropped a cow on him, once attacked a BBC executive with a large cheese, and cut a lonely figure as he drove barefoot to Dundee after gorging himself on Toblerone.
This documentary explores the Partridge persona, with creator Steve Coogan, and a host of others who helped bring North Norfolk Digital’s finest to life.
Back of the net!
The Great British Bake-Off Christmas Special – C4 Christmas Day 2:30pm & Boxing Day 3:05pm
What the Christmas season needs more of is doughy food, and Channel 4 is happy to oblige. The Great British Bake-Off Christmas Special features two episodes, each with four bakers that have previously appeared on the show. There will be plenty of kneading, proofing, and eagerly staring into ovens with a slightly panicked look in their eyes.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith will judge proceedings, while Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding provide the icing on the cake.
The Miniaturist – BBC1 Boxing Day 9pm & 27 December 9pm
Set in Amsterdam during the late 1600s, this two part adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jessie Burton, follows a young woman whose new home has a replica dolls house with seemingly strange powers of foresight. Classy, creepy, with passion and romance thrown in for good measure.
The Crown Season 2 – Netflix
Victoria might be grabbing the spotlight on Christmas Day, but Netflix now has the second series two of its own royal saga – The Crown. So, if you haven’t had the chance to catch up on the early years of Queen Elizabeth II, now is the perfect chance to settle down with some snacks as Claire Foy and Matt Smith discover that all is not well in the house of Windsor.
Little Women – BBC1 Boxing Day 8pm, 27 December 8pm, & 28 December 8:30pm
Another novel to get the five-star treatment this festive season is Louise May Alcott’s Little Women.
In a three-part adaptation, which begins on Christmas Day, the ladies in question try to find their way in an America that is being torn apart by the civil war.
An impressive cast has been assembled, including Emily Watson, Michael Gambon, and Angela Landsbury, while the four Little Women are played by up and coming actresses that will no doubt be big names when the new year rolls around.