Update on EORN Gig Project

The following was received from County of Renfrew on May 5:

On Tuesday, 59 heads of Council from across eastern Ontario gathered for a virtual meeting and voiced overwhelming support for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) Gig Project, which aims to connect homes and businesses across the region with ultra-fast internet speeds.

These municipal leaders are joining the Chairs of EORN, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC) in urging the federal and provincial governments to fund the region-wide Gig Project. The project would expand fibre to homes and businesses to deliver internet speeds up to 1 Gig (1,000 Megabits per second).

EORN has been seeking federal and provincial support for the public-private partnership valued at up to $1.6 billion. It would include investments by the federal and provincial governments, and the private sector, through EORN’s proven model for expanding connectivity in underserved regions.

EORN is requesting $200 million each from the federal and provincial governments. This is about six per cent of the total funds the governments of Canada and Ontario have committed to broadband expansion. Given that recent analysis shows rural eastern Ontario accounts for about 30% of all under-served households in Ontario, the project offers tremendous value. The EORN Gig Project offers a comprehensive solution that ensures the region can keep pace with rising demand for connectivity over the long-term. It is critical for the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic and will support future economic growth and improved quality of life.

“The assembled heads of Council were loud and clear in saying they will urge both the federal and provincial governments to commit to funding this essential broadband project. This is what the people we represent need and deserve. The EORN model, which pools resources and planning at a regional scale, is proven to be efficient and effective. It is straightforward for the telecommunications industry and preferred by local governments, which have limited capacity to manage such projects on their own,” said Debbie Robinson, Chair of the EOWC and Warden of Renfrew County.

About EORN

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

EORN is currently working on a $213 million project, funded by public and private sector partners, to improve and expand cellular services across the region. Building on that project is beginning in 2021.

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.

Barber,M.,County of Renfrew(2021,May5) Mayors, Reeves, Wardens Call on Federal and Provincial Governments to support the EORN Gig Project to bring Fibre to the Home [media release]


  1. Dan Olshen

    Kudos for your insightful comments and being a true patriot pf the MV and its future in the 21st century.
    However, FTTH is not a feasible reality in this rural hinterland and the EORN initiative is only a bandage solution with pundits not understanding its serious limitations.
    BUT as U suggest FTTH (fiber to the hub vs. fiber to the home) is feasible.
    If we lived in an ideal world your suggestion of a CO-OP to manage and maintain the network is almost laughable.
    The CAPEX costs are astronomical, and only a powerful carrier like Bell, Rogers, Shaw (2020) could/would have the resources to maintain this semi-GIG network. Get used of the Megabit domain (LTE derivatives vs. 5G)for the remainder of ur seance in the MV.

  2. Eve-Marie Chamot

    I get 25 Meg wireless service from NRN for about $60 per month which actually is cheaper than Bell Fibe in Toronto for the same service level. The NRN system might actually be more economic in lightly populated areas
    instead of running fibre-optic cable to the door of each and every retail customer. Perhaps EORN should re-organize as a municipally-owned co-operative with local municipalities being the shareholders and directly build and operate a backbone fibre-optic system financed by borrowed money guaranteed by the provincial government which would be repaid from service fees . It would run along main provincial and county highways and directly service only major customers such as municipalities, schools, public libraries, and bigger businesses plus local wireless operators. EORN would also build wireless towers serviced by fibre-optic cable and lease wireless antennas on these towers to local wireless-service providers which might themselves be local co-operatives financed and supervised by EORN. Forget about “public-private partnerships”:- they tend to favor big profits for the private partners and poor service for the customers:- co-ops seem to work best out here in the “boonies”.

  3. Wilmer Matthews

    Great news. Now we need some idea of what this service will cost a household. Hopefully, it will be affordable. Wonder if the Rural Mayors have any idea???

  4. Pingback: Eastern Ontario Mayors, Reeves, Wardens call on readers | Madawaska Valley Current

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