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Ontario contributes money to project aimed at eliminating cell dead zones

File photo of people using cellphones.

Ontario is committing up to $71 million to a project aimed at eliminating nearly all cellular dead zones in eastern Ontario.

Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton says people in those areas are put in dangerous positions because of dropped calls or lost connections during emergencies.

He says about 10 per cent of rural eastern Ontario has no cell service.

The province says the Eastern Ontario Regional Network also requires contributions from the federal government, the private sector and municipalities, for a total of about $213 million.

McNaughton says building broadband and cell networks are expensive, and it often doesn’t make financial sense for private carriers to build the needed infrastructure.

The goal of this project is to bring cell coverage to 99 per cent of the region where people live, work and travel, and won’t include forests, swamps and other unpopulated areas.