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MPP Laurie Scott, right, standing, with members of Kawartha Lakes City Council, including Mayor Andy Letham, to the left of Scott.

Scott announces $71 million to improve broadband access, cell coverage

in Community/Provincial by

The Ontario government is investing $71 million to improve mobile broadband and reliable cellular coverage across eastern Ontario, through the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN).

The project will help residents, visitors and businesses get the broadband and cellular connections they need no matter where they are in the region.

About 10 per cent of rural eastern Ontario has no mobile broadband connection, leading to dropped calls, missed emergency services and a lack of opportunity.

“Mobile broadband connectivity is essential to the public safety and economic prosperity of HKLB and our entire region. I am thrilled that our government has committed to this critical $71 million investment in our region,” said MPP Scott in a press release.

“I’m very excited that this project has been endorsed by the Province. People in Eastern Ontario are counting on it,” said City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor and EOWC Chair Andy Letham. “This project will not only make us safer through enhanced emergency response communications, but it’s also a critical link for our business community in order to be competitive.”

The province is hopeful the federal government will commit to funding its share of the project cost. The public-private initiative requires contributions from the federal government as well private sector and municipal partners. Total estimated value of the project is $213 million.

With the announced support for EORN, the provincial government is fulfilling a commitment to invest in cellular and broadband infrastructure.

QUICK FACTS

  • Cellular connectivity refers to wireless access to voice, text and data services through a mobile device (e.g. a smart phone).
  • The project involves all Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) members and 10 separate municipalities.
  • City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham is Chair of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus
  • The goal of the project is to bring cell coverage to 99 per cent of the region where people live, work and travel. Unpopulated areas, including forests, swamps and protected lands are not included in that goal.
  • EORN was created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and has already completed a major project to build a high-capacity fibre-optic backbone network in Eastern Ontario.
  • In the 2019 Ontario Budget, the provincial government committed $315 million over the next five years to regional and shovel-ready projects.
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