Improved cellular broadband and connectivity

Canadians understand the importance of creating successful, sustainable communities and investing in ways to connect with each other in our increasingly digital world. Connectivity is key to supporting economic growth in rural communities and improving opportunities for all Canadian families.

Today, Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, on behalf of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, and Mr. Robert Kirby, Warden of the United Counties of Prescott & Russell, Mr Bryan McGillis, Councillor at the United Counties of SDG, Mr. Pat Sayeau, Warden of the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville and Mr. Stéphane Sarrazin, EORN project co-lead announced joint funding for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network’s mobile broadband project.

Phase 1 of the project involves building 317 new telecommunications towers and an additional 32 local internet access points to improve overall mobile coverage for residents of Eastern Ontario. Phase 2 will identify the capacity gaps that result from heavy user-traffic, upgrade equipment to reduce network overloads, and improve service quality in rural communities.

Once completed, the project will improve mobile coverage for over 1.1 million residents in 102 communities in Eastern Ontario. The new network will allow businesses to grow and reach new markets, with a potential to create more than 3,000 full-time jobs over ten years. For residents and families, extended mobile coverage means better access to mobile applications on a smartphone or tablet. The improved connectivity will also make it easier for people in remote areas to call for help in emergency situations.

The Government of Canada will contribute up to $71 million to this project under the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan. The Government of Ontario will provide $71 million and the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) will provide $10 million towards the project, with private partners providing the rest of the funding.

Quotes

“The lack of cell coverage has been an ongoing issue for many years in Eastern Ontario. I commend our municipal leaders, past and present, who, have decided to take it upon themselves to work together on this issue. This is a major project and I am glad to see it move forward.”

Quote from Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, on behalf of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“EORN is building on the investment we’ve already made in broadband infrastructure across the region to close the gap in mobile services and improve economic growth, quality of life and public safety. We welcome and appreciate the support of the federal government for this project. Combined with provincial and municipal funding, we can now proceed with the next steps to make improved connectivity a reality for our region.”

Quote from J. Murray Jones, Chair, Eastern Ontario Regional Network

“The demand for mobile broadband is growing exponentially, but our region is deeply lacking the needed infrastructure to keep up. This project is our top priority because Eastern Ontario’s economic future is at stake. We are so pleased that the federal government is joining with the province and municipal government to make this project a reality.”

Quote from Andy Letham, Chair, Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus

Quick facts

  • On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada launched two new strategies: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, which commits to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet, and Canada’s first Rural Economic Development Strategy, which will spur economic growth and create good, middle class jobs for rural Canadians across the country.
  • The Rural Economic Development Strategy leverages ongoing federal investments and provides a vision for the future, identifying practical steps to take in the short term, and serving as a foundation to guide further work.
  • Central to Canada’s Connectivity Strategy are historic new investments that are mobilizing up to $6 billion toward universal connectivity. They include a top-up to the Connect to Innovate Program, a new Universal Broadband Fund, and investments from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
  • The Connectivity Strategy charts a course on how to maximize these investments, how the Government of Canada is leveraging the range of tools at its disposal, and how it will be expanding on its collaboration with the private sector, provinces and territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities.
  • Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity. 

Related product

Backgrounder: Eastern Ontario residents to benefit from improved cellular broadband and connectivity

Associated links

Contacts

  1. Martin Roy
    Executive Assistant
    Office of Francis Drouin, MP
    613-298-2406
    Francis.drouin.a1@parl.gc.ca
  2. Emilie Simard
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
    613-864-7690
    emilie.simard3@canada.ca
  3. Media Relations
    Infrastructure Canada
    613-960-9251
    Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
    Email: infc.media.infc@canada.ca
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Elected group of the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell region