The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) is pressing both senior-level governments to confirm their participation and financial support for a $1.6 billion public-private partnership proposal for the EORN Gig Project. The goal is to expand the existing EORN broadband project to provide ultra-fast Internet service to homes and businesses in the region.
“This would be a game changer for Eastern Ontario,” stated Andy Letham, chairman of the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC), “to attract and retain businesses and residents, and to compete globally over the long term.”
The EORN Gig Project would upgrade the existing high-speed Internet service for the region to provide one gigabit per second connection time and also support real-time data-sharing with new “smart computer” technologies.
The current pandemic situation has affected businesses, student learning, healthcare, and government services, with more demands on the Internet as people work and study at home and also stay in contact with family and friends. EORN and its supporters argue that the Gig Project is necessary to guarantee both community and economic development for the region’s future.
“Demand for broadband is growing exponentially,” stated J. Murray Jones, EORN chairman. “Half measures and baby steps won’t get us there. We need a long-term solution. The EORN Gig Project is a lasting investment in our prosperity.”
The financial plan for the Gig Project involves federal and provincial support funds, loans from the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the private sector.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has stated that a download speed of 50 Megabytes per second and an upload speed of 10 Mbps are the “minimum basic service level” for Internet.
EORN research indicates the average global broadband speed is 92 Mbps and will reach 110 Mbps by 2030. The EORN Gig Project would mean a service speed capacity of 1000 Mbps through a fibre-optic cable network that reaches throughout Eastern Ontario before 2030 if the public-private partnership is achieved.