Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 13, 2024
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No More Dead Zones

$8 million investment means dramatic improvements to cell phone coverage across the County
<p>EORN CEOJason St. Pierre and Indigenous Lead Jim Pine. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
EORN CEOJason St. Pierre and Indigenous Lead Jim Pine. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Former Hastings County Warden Jim Pine —after a decorated municipal career, he is now the Eastern Ontario Regional Network’s Indigenous Lead — and CEO Jason St. Pierre detailed the efforts to close the gaps in cell phone coverage in the County in a presentation to Council last month. 

Upgrades on 300 cell towers across Eastern Ontario started in 2021. Another 300 new installs were started a year later. 

All of the work, in  26 communities in Eastern Ontario, supports the transition to 5G technology. 

The EORN project aims at 99 per cent coverage where cell phone users live, work and travel. That means being able to make and receive cell phone calls on the highway, in a restaurant or at the park. 

95 per cent coverage supports email, web browsing and social media services; and 85 per cent coverage allows users to access high-definition service levels, such as video conferencing, movie streaming and other data-intensive applications.

That means high-definition live streaming from an ambulance en route to a local emergency room, making for better prepared attending physicians when the patient arrives.

Massive undertaking

It is a massive undertaking to install and upgrade existing cell towers in an area that stretches from the Ottawa River to Durham and Renfrew Counties. Rogers is funding half of the $300 million project,  while other streams include the Government of Ontario ($71 million), Government of Canada ($70 million) and the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus ($10 million). 

A map indicating EORN Cell Gap Project sites in Prince Edward County. (EORN Supplied Graphic)

$8 million is being spent right here in the County. 

“This marks a substantial part of the overall investment. A good part of the work in the County has already been completed,” Mr. Pine said.

All County uplift projects are finalized. Retrofitted towers at Sandbanks, Carrying Place, Mount Carmel and Milford are in service.

New towers in Demorestville, Stinson Block Road and at Sandbanks south are in service, while new installations at Glenora and Foster Road are underway. New towers in Picton and Babylon Road will come online in 2026.

“These are all strategically sited so that we can close any gaps in the network and boost capacity in most places so that people can use service for more than just cell phone call,” Mr. Pine added.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 19 edition of The Picton Gazette
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