Jeff Green | May 22, 2019
EORN (the Eastern Ontario Regional Network) has secured the last piece of funding it needs to set up its newest project. A $71 million commitment from the Province of Ontario, paired with a $10 million commitment from local municipalities, leaves only a federal government commitment of another $71 million still to come.
A request for proposal for private sector partners to invest the remaining $61 million for the $213 million project to get underway.
The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) has designated both mobile (cell service) and fixed broadband (high speed internet) as a basic service for all Canadians.
The EORN project is designed to fill some specific service gaps in Eastern Ontario that would not be filled otherwise by the private sector because of what it calls “market failure”, not enough revenue for companies to justify large capital investments to serve too few customers in rural areas.
Currently 40% of the area does not have access to high definition internet services, 20% of the area does not have access to standard definition internet services, and 10% of the are has no voice call (cell) service at all.
This new project has, as its goal, 99% voice call cell service, 95% coverage for standard definition internet service, and 85% high speed internet service. In addition EORN intends to invest $34 million in increased capacity (5G) network enhancements in high density, high usage areas.
EORN is a not for profit corporation created by the Eastern Ontario Warden’s caucus to help improve internet service in 12 eastern Ontario counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes. To date it has been responsible for bringing more than $300 million in high speed infrastructure to the region.
Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith is one of 9 board members who oversee EORN operations.