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Eastern Ontario heads of Council urge support for EORN Gig Project

Image by Thomas Jensen on Unsplash.

Local momentum continues to build for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) Gig Project. One hundred and four (104) heads of Council from across eastern Ontario have signed on to a letter urging the federal and provincial governments to support the project, which aims to connect homes and businesses across the region with ultra-fast internet speeds, according to a release from the organizations involved with the project.

The letter to federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development Maryam Monsef and Ontario’s Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott comes following a meeting of nearly 60 wardens, mayors, and reeves. With strong support for the project among the group, they agreed to develop a letter and seek the support of their peers across the region, according to the release. The letter is also being sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford.

“In less than two weeks, 104 heads of Council in the region signed on to this letter of support. It clearly shows how essential this broadband project is to our communities,” said Debbie Robinson, Chair of the EOWC and Warden of Renfrew County. “A regional delivery model like EORN has proven to be efficient and effective. Our local governments have limited capacity to manage such projects on their own.”

The project would expand fibre to homes and businesses to deliver internet speeds up to 1 Gig (1,000 Megabits per second). EORN has been seeking federal and provincial support for the public-private partnership valued at up to $1.6 billion. It would include investments by the federal and provincial governments, and the private sector, through EORN’s proven model for expanding connectivity in underserved regions.

EORN is requesting $200 million each from the federal and provincial governments, according to the release. This is 5.7 per cent of the total funds the governments of Canada and Ontario have committed to broadband expansion. Given that recent analysis shows rural eastern Ontario accounts for about 30 per cent of all under-served households in Ontario, the organizations said the project offers tremendous value.

The EORN Gig Project offers a comprehensive solution that ensures the region can keep pace with the rising demand for connectivity over the long term. According to the release, it is critical for the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic and will support future economic growth and improved quality of life.

“The Gig Project would bring major benefits to our communities, including creating jobs, supporting our children to learn online and to improve access to healthcare services,” said Diane Therrien, Chair of EOMC and Mayor of the City of Peterborough. “The mayors of eastern Ontario’s cities and towns are pleased to support this project.”

For more information about EORN, EOWC and EOMC visit: www.eorn.ca

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