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Proposal tackles cellular dead zones across Eastern Ontario

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 Mobile broadband critical to regional growth

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is pleased to support efforts by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to seek federal and provincial support to improve cellular coverage in the region. Gaps in cellular services are standing in the way of the region’s economic growth and public safety.

EORN is proposing a $213 million public-private partnership to improve both the reach and quality of cellular data services in the region. According to an engineering study commissioned by EORN:

  • About one quarter of the area where there are homes, businesses or major roads in the region cannot access any cellular services.
  • Depending on the cell carrier, another 28% to 40% of the area has inadequate capacity to provide high quality mobile broadband service given the demand, which continues to grow.

“In my view, this is the most important project EORN is currently work on,” said Jim Bancroft, Warden at United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. “Expanded mobile broadband access and capacity will ensure that Eastern Ontario remains competitive with other regions, not only in Ontario or Canada, but the world”

The gaps are the result of market failure. Rural areas don’t generate enough revenue for cell carriers to build adequate services. The CRTC recently designated both mobile and fixed broadband as basic services for all Canadians. A public-private partnership would reduce carriers’ infrastructure costs, creating a stronger business case to improve services and meet the CRTC’s basic services goals.

EORN has submitted a detailed business case for cell expansion to the federal and provincial governments. The proposal also includes a dedicated, public safety broadband network to seamlessly connect first responders region-wide. Building both networks together would cost about $299 million, saving about $47 million compared to building them separately

 

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