Feds chip in $71-million toward improved cellular broadband and connectivity

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd has announced a Federal contribution of $71-million toward the Eastern Ontario Regional Network's mobile-broadband project.

Speaking in Codrington on behalf of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, she joined EORN chair J. Murray Jones to make the announcement. The press release issued afterwards offered further numbers.

Once complete, the project will improve mobile coverage for more than 1.1-million residents in 102 Eastern Ontario Communities, allowing businesses to grow and reach new markets (and, over 10 years, potentially create 3,000 full-time jobs).

For residents and families, it might be as simple as better access to mobile applications on smartphone or tablet, not to mention a more reliable means for people in remote areas to call for help in an emergency.

Phase one of this project involves building 317 new telecommunications towers and an additional 32 local internet access points to improve overall mobile coverage. Phase two will identify capacity gaps that result from heavy user traffic, upgrading equipment to reduce network overloads and improve service quality in rural communities.

It's very much a partnership with the province having recently announced its own $71-million investment to match the $71-million coming from the Government of Canada under the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing In Canada Plan. As well, the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus will provide $10-million toward the project, with private partners making up the rest of the funding.

Rudd said in the press release that this is an exciting day, as the broadband gap begins to close.

“We're now seeing a future where every residence and business in this country, no matter how rural or remote, has a reasonable and reliable rate of internet connectivity,” she stated.

“This is something we can all be very proud of.”