Internet, cellphone funding will directly benefit WC, MPP says

WEST CARLETON – Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton says she will have ‘something to share’ with West Carleton soon, thanks to Friday’s announcement of more than $71 million in broadband and cell phone service funding available for the rural areas of Ontario.

Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton. File photo
Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton. File photo

Last Friday (May 17) the Ford government pledged the funding to support infrastructure improvements to Internet broadband access and cell phone service to ‘virtually eliminate coverage gaps in the region.’

On Monday, Fullerton Tweeted this was good news for West Carleton. On Wednesday, she told West Carleton Online why.

“The $71 million committed for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) is a first step for our region,” Fullerton said in a response to West Carleton Online’s email questions this morning (May 22). “I have been advocating for better Internet and cellular connectivity for the residents in West Carleton and have met with local residents and businesses on this subject. I am continuing to speak with Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton and his officials about our needs and expect I might have something related to this program to share in the near future.”

According to this EORN map, Ottawa is not one of the municipalities included in their network. But the Ontario government’s release also mentions there are 11 other municipalities eligible for this funding on top of those with membership in the EORN. The release does not say which other municipalities ae included.

Fullerton says that $71 million is just the beginning of funding earmarked to improve service.

“Friday’s investment announced by the Minister McNaughton is just the beginning of implementing our provincial broadband strategy,” Fullerton said. “In Ontario’s 2019 Budget, we committed $315 million over the next five years to projects that will expand broadband and cellular access.  This includes new investments of up to $150 million over four years starting in next year to support unserved and underserved communities.”