The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) released its long-term Digital Strategy on February 24, which provides a road map for Eastern Ontario to become a leader in using rural broadband access to help create strong, sustainable communities.
The strategy was presented by EORN at a meeting of provincial ministers during the 2015 OGRA/ROMA Combined Conference in Toronto. The annual conference is hosted jointly by the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA).
EORN was first created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus (EOWC) to build a $170-million rural broadband network, which was completed last fall with the support of the federal, provincial and municipal governments and the investment of private sector partners.
The network, which is scalable to meet growing needs, serves more than one million people across 50,000 square kilometres of rural Eastern Ontario.
"The Digital Strategy aims to build on our success, by making sure that the network keeps pace with changing demands," said EORN Chair David Burton. "Through continued advocacy and partnership, EORN will support communities in using the network to its fullest potential."
EORN's Digital Strategy focuses on expanding access and empowering residents, businesses and organizations to use high-speed internet services. Current priorities include:
Using EORN's 5,500-kilometre fibre optic backbone to improve mobile broadband access and cell service;
Leveraging the network for regional economic development activities;
Increasing the number of residents and businesses who take advantage of the network; and,
Using the network to improve municipal and other public services.
"We are pleased that more than 99 per cent of residents and businesses can access high-speed internet as a result of the project. It is an important first step," said EOWC Chair Eric Duncan. "High-speed internet access is a critical tool for our regional economic development strategy, which aims to create thriving communities across Eastern Ontario."
For additional information visit www.eorn.ca