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Cell phone coverage to expand along rural B.C. route

A section of road falls into the Coquihalla River near Hope, B.C., Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Those travelling between Hope and Keremeos, B.C. can expect to get better cell coverage as the province announces the addition of cellular towers along Highway 3.

Eleven new cell towers are expected to be added along 92 kilometres of highway, linking travellers and businesses to a network in case of an emergency.

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“We are working hard to expand connectivity where it’s most needed in the province,” Minister of Citizens’ Services Lisa Beare said on Friday.

“Cellular coverage along key transport routes like Highway 3 is important for both commercial and recreational travellers, as it will enable people to stay connected and to access road safety updates and important emergency services while on the road.”

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The announcement comes following the recent flooding, landslides and wildfires during 2021, as part of the province’s Connecting British Columbia grant program to strengthen network coverage in rural parts of B.C.

Cellular coverage along Highway 3 is said to be intermittent with signal gaps in sections between Hope and Manning Park and between Princeton and Keremeos. The addition of new cell towers is meant to ensure a cell connection throughout the route.

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Working in tandem with Rogers Communications, the province is expected to fund $3.1 million towards the $9.7 million cost of the project via the Connecting British Columbia program. Rogers will fund the remaining cost.

“Recent climate events in B.C. have shown how vulnerable our infrastructure can be and the importance of connectivity in an emergency situation,” said Jorge Fernandes, chief technology officer for Rogers.

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“We are pleased to work together with the Government of B.C. and NDIT (Northern Development Initiative Trust) to deliver much-needed cellular coverage that will ensure access to mobile calls, data and emergency numbers, providing peace of mind and safety for travellers along this route.”

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