If you live in Eastern Ontario and are among those affected by the lack of reach and capacity of mobile broadband networks, here is some good news for you.
The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) will receive $71 million to help fill gaps in mobile broadband coverage that are standing in the way of the region’s economic development. The funding announcement was made today (May 17) by Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, in Northumberland County.
There are currently significant gaps in both the reach and capacity of mobile broadband networks across areas of rural Eastern Ontario where people live, work or travel:
• 40% of the area does not have access to high-definition services that allows streaming HD video.
• 20% of the area does not have access to standard definition video, typical mobile app use and video
• 10% has no voice call service.
EORN has developed a $213 million public-private partnership to improve both the reach and quality of mobile broadband services in the region. The province is providing one-third of the project funding. EORN is also seeking one-third federal funding support. All members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and most municipalities within the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus have committed to contributing to the $10 million municipal share.
Mobile carriers, who will be selected through a competitive bidding process, are expected to provide the balance of the funding.
The gaps are the result of market failure. Rural areas don’t generate enough revenue for mobile carriers to build adequate services. The CRTC recently designated both mobile and fixed broadband as basic services for all Canadians. The public-private partnership will reduce carriers’ infrastructure costs, creating a stronger business case to improve services and meet the CRTC’s basic service goals.
The improvements could unlock significant economic potential over 10 years, including:
• More than 3,000 full-time job equivalents.
• More than $420 million in private sector business revenues.
EORN, a non-profit created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC), helped to improve broadband access to nearly 90% of Eastern Ontario through 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.
The EOWC directed EORN to prepare and submit a project proposal to improve access to mobile broadband services and support the creation of a public safety broadband network. More information is available at www.eorn.ca.