We could see better cell phone coverage in the county in the next few years. The Eastern Ontario Regional Network learned that it will receive $71 million from the province to help close mobile broadband gaps in Eastern Ontario. The announcement was made last week by Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal.

According to E.O.R.N. the project is expected to generate 3,000 full-time jobs over 10 years and bring in approximately $420 million in new business revenue. Last year, E.O.R.N. proposed a $213 million public-private sector partnership and last week is the first announcement of money committed to the project.

Highlands East Mayor Dave Burton is on the E.O.R.N. board of directors and says that people having access to high-speed internet service and cell service is as important as having well-maintained roads. He says the next step is to get a commitment from the federal government.

Last year, Co-Lead Jim Pine said that once the money was received, the project will take between four and five years to complete.