By Chad Ingram
Published June 6 2017
Haliburton County council along with the councils of its lower-tier municipalities recently passed resolutions in support of the latest project by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) a project that aims to fill gaps in cellular connectivity for homes and businesses throughout the eastern portion of the province.
It would require the construction of new communications towers throughout the region with an estimated price tag of $213 million.
EORN which is a non-profit organization created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to improve Internet connectivity throughout its jurisdiction is submitting grant applications to the provincial and federal governments for the project.
Support resolutions from local councils will help in building its business case. Nearly 25 per cent of the area encompassed by the EOWC does not have access to cellular connectivity and according to EORN another 28 to 40 per cent of the area has inadequate capacity.
There are cellular connectivity gaps throughout Haliburton County. Some of the most pronounced areas are in Highlands East and Algonquin Highlands but there are gaps in all four of the lower-tier municipalities.
“Much like the transcontinental railroads were the foundation of North America in the 19th century as technology evolves the Internet is what keeps our economy businesses and households running today” Minden Hills Reeve and Haliburton County Warden Brent Devolin said in a press release. “Without that connectivity rural communities in Eastern Ontario will be left behind.”
A previous EORN project fell short of its connectivity goal.
Between 2010 and 2015 EORN embarked on a $175-million project that aimed to connect 95 per cent of homes and businesses within its jurisdiction with broadband high-speed Internet.
That area includes Haliburton County and the 12 other municipalities that comprise the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus as well as six separated cities including Belleville Kingston Quinte West Gananoque Prescott and Cornwall.
Haliburton County contributed $500000 to the initial EORN project.
Rather than connecting 95 per cent of homes and businesses in the region the initial EORN project connected about 86 per cent of them.
EORN is hoping to begin the new project in 2018.