Bob Peters – ChooseCornwall.ca
The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) has achieved another milestone with the expansion of 5G mobile services in surrounding areas Maxville, Greenfield, Glen Robertson and Wendover.
The work is part of the EORN Cell Gap Project, a $300 million public-private partnership to improve and expand cellular services across rural eastern Ontario. About half the project funding 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 Communications, which was selected through a competitive bidding process, is providing the balance of the investment.
“Canadians increasingly depend on reliable, secure, and modern digital connection services. Through partnerships with the provinces, territories, regional and municipal organizations, and industry, the Government of Canada is making mobile connectivity technologies available to Canadians across the country,” said Francis DrouinParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.
Through this partnership, Rogers will build more than 300 new telecommunications towers, a combination of new tower constructions and colocations, and will upgrade more than 300 existing sites by 2025. More than 260 sites have been upgraded so far. The expansion in North Glengarry and Alfred and Plantagenet includes four new cellular towers – just the start of more new builds underway to expand cellular service.
“Our government is building a stronger, more prosperous Ontario by working collaboratively with partners across the province to ensure families and businesses in eastern Ontario have access to reliable wireless services,” said Nolan Quinn, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “With the new cellular towers being built and upgraded, we are significantly improving cellular connectivity throughout eastern Ontarioand providing rural communities with increased opportunities to connect with loved ones, create jobs, participate in the agriculture sector and access the critical resources they need and deserve.”
A total of 15 towers are set to be constructed as part of this project, and 18 towers have been identified for upgrades across the United Counties of SDG. EORN is working with Indigenous communities to ensure that new cell infrastructure is built with respect for Indigenous priorities, treaty rights and heritage. Based on input from several First Nations, EORN has committed to exceeding industry practice, and is conducting archaeological assessments on most new tower sites.
“Rogers’ network expansion will give local residents access to better cell services that will help support economic growth and improve quality of life,” said EORN Chair J.Murray Jones. “We appreciate the support of our federal, provincial and municipal partners in helping us close the gap in mobile services.”
The EORN Cell Gap is supported by Eastern Ontario municipalities including the United Counties of Stormont Dundas and Glengarry and the City of Cornwall, which contributed $567,000 and $300,000 respectively.
“It is important that residents, visitors and businesses enjoy the same connectivity throughout Eastern Ontario as they have come to expect from large urban centres,” says Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant.
The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN), is a non-profit organization created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) to improve and leverage cellular and broadband access to fuel economic development and growth. Since 2010, it has helped bring hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, provincial and private sector investment to improve connectivity across the rural region.
EORN’s previous project involved the construction of a 5,500-km fibre-optic network throughout Eastern Ontario which resulted in improved wired and wireless connectivity for residents and businesses. The City of Cornwall supported that project, and as a result saw significant investments in the local communications infrastructure. In 2017, Xplornet Communications established a $40 million regional office in Cornwall, a direct result of the EORN project. Xplornet now employs over 130 people in Cornwall.
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