Ontario to spend $765 million to upgrade public safety radio network

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TORONTO — Ontario will spend $765 million to rebuild and replace parts of the province’s aging public safety radio network.

Premier Doug Ford says Bell Mobility has been awarded the contract to make the upgrades.

The government announced the project last year, saying the system used by first responders is prone to daily outages and needs to be modernized.

The network covers 750,000 square kilometres — about three quarters of the province’s total area — including areas in the north where cellphone service is not available.

It helps first responders communicate and co-ordinate during forest fires, police operations and medical emergencies.

Transition to the new network will begin in 2021, and it’s expected to be fully operational by June 2023.