Cellular coverage and broadband services in Haliburton are getting a financial boost.

The province has announced it will be putting $71-million into an Eastern Ontario Regional Network project that will help improve the reach and quality of cellular data services in the region. EORN Co-Lead Jim Pine says the goal is to close coverage gaps that exist in Eastern Ontario, and make broadband internet more accessible. Pine says he is thrilled the province is supporting the project because these connections are critical.

The project is expected to cost $213-million. EORN says it could create over 3,000 full-time jobs in the next 10 years, along with $420-million in business revenue. Pine says that improving cellular and broadband services in the region will not only benefit residents and businesses, but also those visiting the area.

A study by EORN suggests that a quarter of Eastern Ontario can’t access cell services. Pine says EORN created a plan for the project based on the research, which was submitted to the provincial and federal governments for financial support. All Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus members are also supporting it. Pine says negotiations continue with the feds, but he is confident they will get on board.

(Filed by: Andreas Pandikiu)