Province invests in broadband and cellular coverage

By Cecilia Nasmith

What has been identified as as an area of top priority for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network has received a $71-million boost from the province – improved broadband and cellular capacity.

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini made the announcement last week in Roseneath, pointing out that about 10% of rural Eastern Ontario has no mobile broadband connection, leading to dropped calls, reduced access to emergency services and a lack of opportunity.

“It is essential that proper infrastructure is in place to support public safety across the province, including in rural areas around Northumberland where cellular coverage is lacking,” Piccini said in the press release.

“Our government is taking action to improve connectivity, so that people can feel confident and safe, at home and on the road.”

The provincial grant will be part of a public-private initiative that will also include Federal and municipal governments as well as private-sector partners in a $213-million project that will virtually eliminate coverage gaps in the region.

“The EORN project will add new infrastructure and increase network capacity that will provinde 95% coverage of the Eastern Ontario Region service levels,” the press release said.

“The goal of the project is to bring cell coverage to 99% of the region where people live, work and travel,” it continued, adding that this does not include unpopulated areas such as forests, swamps and protected lands.

The EORN consists of 10 municipalities, including Northumberland County. The Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus has already completed a major project to build a high-capacity fibre-optic backbone network in Eastern Ontario.