Province to invest $71 million in better rural broadband internet

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By Nick Seebruch
Province to invest $71 million in better rural broadband internet
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CORNWALL, Ontario – On Friday, May 17, the province and the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) announced that Ontario would be investing $71 million in rural broadband internet.

According to EORN, 20 per cent of Ontario does not have the broadband internet service that would allow streaming of standard definition video, for high definition streaming video, 40 percent of the province is not covered.

EORN has developed a $213 million public-private partnership to install a stronger broadband network in Ontario. The provincial government’s investment of $71 million represents about one-third of the total investment.

All members of the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus (EOWC) and most members of the Eastern Ontario Mayor’s Caucus (EOMC) have agreed to contribute to the municipal share of $10 million.

EORN laid the blame on bad cell coverage in rural areas at the feet of private enterprise.

“The gaps are the result of market failure,” states EORN in a press release. “Rural areas don’t generate enough revenue for mobile carriers to build adequate services. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (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 project is expected to generate 3,000 jobs and $420 million in revenue for private sector businesses over 10 years.

“It is essential that proper infrastructure is in place to support public safety across the province, especially in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, where cellular coverage is often lacking,” said Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell. “Our government is taking action to improve connectivity so that people can feel confident and safe, at home and on the road.”

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