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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2023CITZ0010-000652
May 4, 2023
Ministry of Citizens' Services
More cell connectivity means safer travel on Highway 14

VICTORIA – People travelling from Sooke to Port Renfrew will have cellular service with the completion of seven new cell towers, bringing connectivity for residents, workers and visitors.

The Province invested nearly $5 million in the project led by Rogers Communications, which invested $695,000. The project is bringing cellular service to this 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 14, which did not have wireless network coverage until the project was completed.

“There are stunningly beautiful areas along Highway 14,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Bringing connectivity to this remote and rural area ensures that people can stay connected when travelling and enjoying this coastal landscape. Government investments in cell connectivity deliver essential infrastructure, ensuring that residents, commuters and tourists can access critical services in case of an emergency and enjoy the benefits of reliable cell service.”

New government funding of $75 million was announced in March 2023 to support more highway cellular projects throughout B.C. The Province supports the expansion of highway cellular service in B.C. by contributing to the overall cost of the projects led by service providers.

The Province’s investment is part of StrongerBC, B.C.’s Economic Plan to build back a strong economy with a focus on inclusive growth for all communities.

Quotes:

Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island and Premier’s Liaison for Connectivity –

“As someone who travels on the Island regularly, it is great to have the modern convenience of cell service and know that I can stay in touch with my family and friends on another beautiful stretch of highway. I’m proud to be part of government’s cell connectivity projects that are helping British Columbians get where they’re going with the added peace of mind of cell coverage.”

Joel McKay, chief executive officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust –

“The introduction of cellular coverage to this 70-kilometre stretch of highway on the southwestern tip of Vancouver Island will benefit Island residents who frequently travel the route and travellers who are exploring the area. This connectivity project improves public safety for all those in the area and will contribute to a greater sense of security for tourists, encouraging them to travel along Highway 14, supporting local economies and those who work in the area’s tourism industry.”

Ron McKenzie, chief technology and information officer, Rogers Communications –

“Together with the B.C. government, Rogers is proud to provide cellular connectivity on this stretch of Highway 14 for the first time, bringing 5G service and increasing safety for residents, travellers and emergency responders along this vital route. Through our transformative merger with Shaw, we are committed to bringing fast, reliable networks to more communities across Western Canada over the next five years, investing $6.5 billion in our networks in the West.”

Chief Jeff Jones, Pacheedaht First Nation –

“The Pacheedaht First Nation is pleased to have worked with the Province and Rogers Communications in a productive and culturally sensitive manner in installing the cell towers on our traditional lands, and to see this project being implemented and come to fruition. There are challenges in constructing such a network in the rugged terrain of our land, along a road that is potentially hazardous during bad weather. Cellphone connectivity will enhance the quality of life, administration, operations, safety, security and economic development of the greater community of Pacheedaht and Port Renfrew.”

Dwight Yochim, chief executive officer, BC Search and Rescue Association –

“Extended cellular coverage significantly increases safety and not only allows lost or injured persons to call for assistance, but also allows search and rescue groups to use built-in GPS technology to locate them, dramatically reducing search time. Knowing the location of the subject dramatically increases survivability.”

Quick Facts

  • In March 2022, B.C. and the federal government announced $830 million to support expanding broadband internet in B.C. to all under-served households by 2027.
  • There are 15,000 kilometres of primary, secondary and major highways in B.C. and as of December 2022:
    • 10,800 km have cellular service
    • 4,200 km do not have cellular service of which:
      • 3,100 km do not have access to commercial power and
      • 1,100 km have access to commercial power but no cellular service.

Learn More:

Connectivity in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc

Northern Development Initiative Trust: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/

StrongerBC: BC's Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.ca/plan

 
Contact:
 
Ministry of Citizens’ Services
Media Relations
250 889-8370
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect