Commitment to Improve Cell Service in Eastern OntarioApril 24, 2018
Cornwall Ontario – Ontario is committed to improve cell service in Eastern Ontario, a move that is welcomed by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.
Ontario is supporting a proposal by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) that includes a $213 million public-private partnership to improve both the reach and quality of cellular data services in the region. The federal government and the private sector are also being asked to support the project.
“Funding for this project has been the EOWC’s number one priority,” says Robin Jones, EOWC Chair. “The demand for mobile data is growing exponentially, but our region is deeply lacking the needed infrastructure to keep up. Eastern Ontario’s future is at stake.”
EORN submitted a detailed business case for cell expansion to the federal and provincial governments in May 2017. The project is expected to create 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs over 10 years and spur $420 million in new business revenue.
“This commitment from the province is a great vote of confidence in the project,” says EORN Chair J. Murray Jones. “EORN is building on the investment we’ve already made in fibre optics across the region to close the gap in cell services and improve economic growth, quality of life and public safety.”
According to an engineering study commissioned by EORN:
- About one quarter of the area where there are homes, businesses or major roads in the region cannot access any cellular services.
- Depending on the cell carrier, nearly two-thirds of the area doesn’t have enough capacity to provide high quality mobile broadband service given growing demand.
The gaps are the result of market failure. Rural areas don’t generate enough revenue for cell carriers to build adequate services. The CRTC recently designated both mobile and fixed broadband as basic services for all Canadians. A public-private partnership would reduce carriers’ infrastructure costs, creating a stronger business case to improve services and meet the CRTC’s basic services goals.
About EORN and EOWC
The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) is comprised of 13 members across rural Eastern Ontario, including 11 regional County municipalities and two Single-tier municipalities. It represents the interests and shared goals of 750,000 people in 103 rural municipalities.
EORN, a non-profit created by the EOWC, helped to improve broadband access to nearly 90% of Eastern Ontariothrough a $175 million fixed broadband network funded by the federal, provincial and municipal governments and private sector service providers. It works with governments and community organizations to improve and leverage broadband access to fuel economic development and growth across the region.