“The lack of (proper) cell coverage has been an ongoing concern in this region,” said MP Francis Drouin during the July 4 news conference on federal funding for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network Mobile Broadband Project (EORN). “This is a major project, and I am glad to see it moving forward.”
The Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP confirmed the federal government’s $71 million share of funding for the multi-million-dollar EORN project. The provincial government has confirmed its $71 million share and the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC) will provide $10 million.
The remaining support for the project, valued at $213 million, will come from the private sector as part of a public-private-partnership arrangement. The EOWC, which is the lead agency for the EORN project, will begin gathering together partnership contribution agreements in the fall with private sector cell service suppliers. Equipment installation for the mobile broadband project is expected to take at least four years.
The mobile broadband project is a follow-up to EORN’s regional broadband project for improvement of Internet service for all of Eastern Ontario. The mobile broadband project focus is better cellular phone service to benefit economic development and public safety throughout the region.
Thursday morning’s announcement took place in the Village of St-Bernardin in The Nation Municipality, a rural community which reflects the rural nature of both the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding and Eastern Ontario overall.
“This is great news for the whole of Eastern Ontario,” said Mayor François St-Amour of The Nation. “EORN is going to be a model for the rest of Canada.”