Mobile services across many areas of rural eastern Ontario will be improved and expanded as part of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) Cell Gap Project.
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, EORN, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and Rogers Communications announced that Rogers 5G mobile services are now available for the first time for residents in parts of the following areas:
- County of Renfrew
- County of Northumberland
- County of Lennox and Addington
- County of Haliburton
- County of Frontenac
- County of Peterborough
- County of Hastings
- County of Lanark
- United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
- City of Quinte West
- Alderville First Nation
- Algonquins of Pikwakanagan
- Curve Lake First Nation
- Hiawatha First Nation
- Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
According to a media release issued by Frontenac County on behalf of the EORN, about half the funding for the $300 million public-private partnership comes from the federal and provincial governments, as well as municipal members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and most of the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC). Rogers, which was selected through a competitive bidding process, is providing the balance of the investment.
“We are grateful for the support of our federal, provincial and municipal partners in helping us close the gap in mobile services,” said EORN Chair Pierre Leroux. “Rogers’ network expansion will give local residents access to better cell services that are essential for economic growth and improved quality of life.”
Through this partnership, Rogers is reportedly building approximately 330 new telecommunications sites consisting of both new sites and colocations and upgrading 312 existing sites – bringing vital infrastructure to more municipalities and Indigenous communities in eastern Ontario. To date, upgrades have been completed on 305 existing sites, as well as 58 new cell sites, according to the release. Rogers said that, in conjunction with community partners, it is working to accelerate tower construction for 2024 with many new towers planned to come online throughout the year.
“Today’s announcement is another step towards our government’s goal of building stronger, more connected communities across the province,” said Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure. “With these new cellular towers, we are helping to ensure communities in rural eastern Ontario have seamless cellular connectivity that they can rely on to access critical health services, operate and grow a business, participate in the agriculture sector, work and learn online, and stay connected with loved ones.”
In the release, the involved parties noted that the wireless expansion project is “enhancing public safety” and “providing peace of mind for all residents” so they can call emergency services and use navigation apps along the rural and remote roadways in eastern Ontario.
These sentiments were echoed by Lennox and Addington County Warden Henry Hogg.
“The expansion of cell service in Lennox and Addington County will help our residents in their everyday lives, and it is also essential for emergency and health care services. We welcome any new service that the EORN project will provide,” Hogg said when reached for comment on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023.
Kingstonist also reached out to Lennox and Addington County and Frontenac County to find out where the expansions in service occurred within the respective counties. Both counties redirected those inquiries to the EORN, who did not respond by time of publication. Asked for comment from Frontenac County Warden Ron Vandewal, Frontenac County communications redirected that inquiry to EORN, as well. This article will be updated if/when more information becomes available.
Kingston’s 5G expansion was activated in January 2022, and the EORN has been part of multiple projects to connect the province, including through fibre optic and broadband networks, over the past several years.
For more information about EORN and the Cell Gap project visit: www.eorn.ca