“You can’t beat the news we’re giving you,” said J. Murray Jones, chairman for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN), during a Friday morning media teleconference announcement that Rogers Communications is the private-sector partner in the Cellular Gap Project.
“They’re preparing us for a bright future,” said Jones, adding that Rogers Communications will invest more than $150 million in the $300 million private-public-partnership project to improve mobile broadband service over a five-year period for all of Eastern Ontario. The federal and provincial governments will each provide $71 million to the project with another $10 million coming from the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC), which represents 13 regional governments and their member municipalities in Eastern Ontario.
EORN has lobbied for several years for its Cellular Gap project as a critical need to both improve local access to mobile broadband for economic development and community support and also to ensure public safety by eliminating “dead zones” for cell phone service that create problems for emergency services like paramedics, police, or fire departments.
“The people of Eastern Ontario need dependable connectivity that others take for granted,” said Dean Prevost, Rogers Communications spokesman. “It’s a ‘need to have’. It’s a ‘must have’.”
Prevost noted that the company will begin this spring to upgrade more than 300 cell towers already in place throughout Eastern Ontario to provide better, faster, and more secure mobile service. By 2025 the company will also have installed 350 new cell towers to expand cellular service coverage throughout the region.
“By the end of this year,” said Prevost, “people will see improved service.”