On Friday, March 19th, the Eastern Ontario Regional Network announced that Rogers Communication had been awarded the contract for the EORN Cell Gap Project to improve cell and broadband data service to residents of Eastern Ontario. EORN is an organization created by area municipalities through the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to lobby for government and industry investments to bring reliable connectivity for area residents. Its chair, J. Murray Jones reported during a virtual press conference that Rogers is investing $150M to the 5 year project, bringing its total value up to $300M with federal, provincial, and municipal grants factored in. Participants at the release live-stream described the project as the largest public/private wireless initiative in Canada. Rogers and Bell Canada were the only bidders for the contract.
Dean Provost of Rogers indicated that the first step of the project would be to create 5G capacity on the existing network and then add 350 new towers to reduce dead-zones and improve data speed. Work is expected to commence this spring. Provost noted that while some improvements would be experienced by users by the end of this year, the total impact wouldn’t be realized until the project was completed by the end of 2025. This infrastructure upgrade is expected to spur $420M in local economic growth.
The aim is to provide 99% of the area with voice calling services, and to provide 95% of the area with standard-definition level services, such as video-app calls, basic app usage and streaming of SD video, and to cover 85% with service levels that can support streaming high-definition video and more data-intensive apps.