Eastern Ontario Regional Network Awards Contract for Cell Expansion to Rogers Communications

(March 19, 2021 – EASTERN ON) – Strong and reliable cellular services are critical to help rural communities take part in the economy, create jobs and improve public safety. Together, Canada, Ontario and municipal governments across Eastern Ontario are supporting the Eastern Ontario Regional Network’s Cell Gap Project that will improve both the reach and quality of cellular services throughout the region.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, joined Warden J. Murray Jones, Chair of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, Warden Debbie Robinson,  Chair of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and Mayor Diane Therrien, Chair of the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus to announce that Rogers Communications has been awarded the contract to improve the coverage and capacity of cell networks in the region.

Rogers Communications’ investment brings the total value of the public-private partnership to more than $300 million. This includes investments from the federal and provincial governments who each contributed $71 million and an additional $10 million from the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and most municipalities within the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus.  

Rogers Communications was selected through a competitive bidding process to identify a telecommunication partner who offered both the expertise and best value for expanded cell coverage.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has designated both mobile and fixed broadband as basic services for all Canadians. The project is designed to improve cell coverage across the area where people live, work and travel. It aims to provide:

  • 99 per cent of the area with voice calling services.
  • At least 95 per cent of the area with standard-definition (SD) level services, such as video-app calls, basic app usage and streaming of SD video.
  • At least 85 per cent of the area with service levels that can support streaming high-definition video and more data-intensive apps.

Additional investments will increase capacity of networks in high density, high usage areas.

To better serve rural Eastern Ontario, an area of some 50,000 square kilometres, the project will involve construction of more than 300 new telecommunication sites and will upgrade more than 300 existing sites over the next four to five years. Upgrades and construction will begin as early as this spring. Powered by Ericsson, Rogers brings the latest generation in 5G wireless network technology, which over time will deliver unprecedented speed, instant response times, and fast, reliable connections that transform how people live and work. New services will be activated as groups of towers are built or upgraded. The project is to be completed in 2025.

About EORN

EORN, a non-profit created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC), works with governments and community organizations to improve and leverage cellular and broadband access to fuel economic development and growth.

From 2010 to 2014, EORN helped to improve broadband access to nearly 90 per cent of eastern Ontario through a $175 million public-private partnership. The network was funded by federal, provincial and municipal governments and private sector service providers. As a result of the project, 423,000 homes and businesses are now able to access services of up to 10 Mbps download. It also spurred more than $100 million in additional private sector investment in the region, over and above their initial commitments.

About the EOWC

Since its inception, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) has worked to support and advocate on behalf of the 750,000 property taxpayers across rural eastern Ontario. The EOWC covers an area of 45,000 square kilometres from Cobourg to the Quebec border, and includes 13 upper-tier and single-tier municipalities as well as 90 local municipalities. All members work together as a team, striving to ensure that conditions are in place to make Eastern Ontario the greatest place in the world to reside and do business.

About the EOMC

The Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC) is made up of the Mayors of the 11 urban municipalities (separated, single tier) of Eastern Ontario. The committee meets quarterly as a group with the municipal CAOs in attendance to discuss common issues relevant to municipalities in eastern Ontario.

About Rogers

Rogers is a proud Canadian company dedicated to making more possible for Canadians each and every day. Our founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. We have grown to become a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).

Quotes

“Reliable cell service in our region will improve our health and safety, and lead to economic growth. Our community has been firmly behind the EORN cell gap project, and I am thankful to my colleagues in neighbouring ridings for championing it. This project will connect the residents of Eastern Ontario to fast, reliable cellular service. In addition to this, the Government of Canada is connecting Ontarians to high-speed internet by committing over $233 million into 23 projects that will connect 33,649 households across the province. Congratulations to all involved in today’s important announcement. » 

          – The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development 

“Eastern Ontario has waited long enough for reliable connectivity. That’s why today’s announcement of the partnership between the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) and Rogers Communications brings hope and optimism for residents. This partnership is one more step towards delivering better connectivity for families and individuals and is an example of the decisive action we’re taking to connect more people.”

          – The Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure 

“Rogers is thrilled to join this public-private partnership bringing reliable wireless mobile connectivity to the 113 municipalities and Indigenous communities of Eastern Ontario. We are proud to serve the region with vital 5G infrastructure, bringing its residents, businesses, and visitors a safer, more prosperous, and connected future.” 

          – Rogers President and CEO, Joe Natale

“The investment that Rogers Communications is making in our region has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to working with their team to strengthen cellular networks across the region. We also appreciate the support of our federal and provincial partners. Together we’re building on the investment we’ve already made in broadband infrastructure to deliver value and quality in closing the gap in mobile services.” 

          – EORN Chair J. Murray Jones

“Improved cell service has been the EOWC’s top priority for years. The demand for mobile broadband is growing exponentially, but our region is deeply lacking the needed infrastructure to keep up. While we initiated the project well before COVID, we know it will be key for the region’s economic recovery and to improve quality of life and public safety for our communities.”

          – EOWC Chair Debbie Robinson 

“Members of the Mayors’ Caucus understand that for our region to keep pace with technology, we need to ensure we have not only minimum cell coverage, but enough capacity to meet the rapid growth in demand for mobile broadband. The digital economy has never been more critical for our communities to prosper. We are looking forward to seeing robust and reliable cellular services serve our residents and businesses.”

          – EOMC Chair Diane Therrien

 

For more information, view this background document or contact:

Marie-Pier Baril

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

613-295-8123

marie-pier.baril@cfc-swc.gc.ca

Christine Bujold

Press Secretary

Office of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

416-454-1782

christine.bujold@ontario.ca

Sofia Sousa-Dias

Communications Branch

Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure

437-991-3391

sofia.sousa-Dias@ontario.ca

Lisa Severson

Eastern Ontario Regional Network

Director of Communications

613-213-8520,

lseverson@eorn.ca

Rogers Communicationsmedia@rci.rogers.com, 1-844-226-1338