According to the announcement, Rogers’ clients in Wendover, Maxville, Greenville and Glen Robertson now have access to 5G mobile service, the latest and fastest cellular internet service currently available on the market.
EORN, a non-profit created to improve connectivity in rural Eastern Ontario, alongside members of the EORN Board of Directors, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Nolan Quinn, and Senior Vice-President and General Manger for Rogers Wireless Bart Nickerson made the announcement at the Maxville Fair Grounds.
“This is a project that started at the beginning of my parliamentary career,” said Drouin, who attended on behalf of Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic Leblanc. “So, I’m here to actually say thank you to EORN, to the province, to the First Nations communities, and to Rogers for making this thing a reality.”
Improved connectivity comes as part the Cell Gap Project, a $300 million public-private partnership formed in 2021 between EORN, Rogers, and the Governments of Canada and Ontario to bring reliable wireless service to Eastern Ontario residents. The deal will see Rogers build 300 new towers (including co-locations) and upgrade more than 300 existing towers across 13 upper-tier municipalities from Coburg, Ontario to the Québec border, and from Renfrew County to Kingston. In total, the project is expected to improve access for 1.1 million people.
The provincial and federal governments each invested $71 million in the project. The Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC), which represents all the municipal and county governments in Eastern Ontario, invested $10 million and the remaining costs are to be covered by Rogers, who were selected through a competitive bidding process.
“This is the realization of a plan that began some eight years ago,” said J. Murray Jones, chair of EORN’s Board of Directors and Warden of Peterborough County. “It was all designed to improve connectivity for all of us, not just some of us, the whole Eastern Ontario region. Solutions starting to deliver improved cell coverage and quality for our residents, our businesses and our visitors as well.”
Services throughout the project area are set to improve progressively, with the goal of connecting 99 per cent of the rural population with voice calling services, 95 per cent with standard definition streaming capabilities and 85 per cent with high-definition capabilities by 2025. According to the EOWC, 40 per cent of residents in rural Eastern Ontario do not have high-definition capabilities, 20 per cent cannot access standard streaming services and a further 10 per cent don not even have voice calling services.