Eastern Ontario Regional Network welcomes broadband commitment

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The Ontario Government is making a $2.8 billion investment to improve broadband access across Ontario. This historic funding commitment by the province builds on previous investments, and brings Ontario’s overall investment in broadband to nearly $4 billion over six years.

“Reliable broadband will be key to the economic recovery from COVID-19 for rural communities,” said Chair J. Murray Jones, Warden of the County of Peterborough. “The government’s commitment today has the potential to finally bridge the digital divide and give people across Ontario the critical connectivity we need to succeed and thrive. I especially want to thank Ontario’s Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott for being a dedicated champion for improved connectivity.”

The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) has submitted a proposal to deliver ultra-fast internet across the region to both the federal and provincial governments, according to a release from the organization, dated Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021. The EORN Gig Project aims to deliver internet speeds of 1,000 megabits per second.

EORN, a non-profit created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC), works with governments and community organizations to improve and leverage cellular and broadband access to fuel economic development and growth.

The EOWC covers an area of 45,000 square kilometres from Cobourg to the Quebec border, and includes 13 upper-tier and single-tier municipalities as well as 90 local municipalities. All members work together as a team, striving to ensure that conditions are in place to make Eastern Ontario the greatest place in the world to reside and do business.

“The Gig Project is a comprehensive solution to fix broadband for a generation,” Jones said. “We look forward to learning more details about the funding in today’s budget and we remain hopeful that it will mean positive news for the Gig Project.”

“In eastern Ontario, we have seen what we can achieve when governments work together, like our announcement last week that will see cellular services improved right across the region,” Jones added. “We have a proven model for delivering improved service on a regional scale through public-private partnership.”

EORN seeks to fund the $1.2 to $1.6 billion project through a combination of funding, with $200 million each from the federal and provincial governments and the remainder from the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the private sector.

The EORN Cell Gap Project leverages funding from the governments, as well as Rogers Communications. Combined, the partners are investing more than $300 million in new or improved cellular infrastructure. Rogers is contributing more than $150 million.

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