City of Cornwall agrees to $300,000 investment in better cell coverage

Nick Seebruch
City of Cornwall agrees to $300,000 investment in better cell coverage

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council agreed to contribute $296,424 to a project that promises to bring better cell coverage to Eastern Ontario.

Council heard from a delegation from Jim Pine, the Chief Administration Officer from Hastings and Lisa Severson of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN). The delegation explained that this project had two goals, to increase cell coverage in Eastern Ontario and to increase cell phone carrier capacity.

The project is a $213 million private-public partnership between municipalities, the province, the federal government, and mobile carriers.

“To be the best-connected region we can be in North America, we know we have to tackle cell coverage,” Pine said.

He explained that EORN projects that once completed, this better cell coverage and capacity could bring over 3,000 jobs to the area.

The aim is to bring 5G cell phone coverage to Eastern Ontario.

Pine said that while cell phone coverage has gotten better, cell phone carrier capacity has gotten worse, especially in urban areas like Cornwall.

“There is no good to have the coverage if you can’t connect,” he said.

Cornwall is one of multiple municipalities to contribute from across the region. It is up to each municipality to contribute to the project, but if a municipality chooses not to take part, the new cell phone infrastructure will be built around them, and they would be left out.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy for one, said that he did not want his city to be one of the ones left out of this project.

“To be left out in this point and time I think is a real disadvantage to the City of Cornwall,” he said “To make sure we have capacity going forward is very very important.”

The nearly $300,000 will be contributed from reserves over a period of four years starting in 2019.

Pine explained that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) aims to have an internet speed of 50 megabytes per-second download and 10 megabytes per-second upload by 2021 for 90 percent of Canadians.

“We don’t want to be in that 10 percent that is left out,” he said. “Whatever we can do to give our region an advantage, we have to do that.”

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