Cell service being expanded for Vancouver Islanders along ‘large stretch’ of Highway 14

Cell service being expanded for Vancouver Islanders along 'large stretch' of Highway 14
File Photo
A view of Jordan River, one of the areas set to receive better cell service along Highway 14.

Local residents and drivers on Vancouver Island can expect improved reception and better cell service along a “large stretch” of Highway 14.

The B.C. Government revealed on Wednesday that cell service is being expanded to include a 70km stretch of highway between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

The improved cellular service comes as part of the Connecting British Columbia program, which expanded last September to include rural and Indigenous communities across Vancouver Island.

“Whether you are lucky enough to live in Otter Point or are heading out to explore the Juan de Fuca Trail, a cellular signal provides peace of mind knowing that you can stay in touch and call for help if it’s needed,” said Premier John Horgan. “As part of our work to build a stronger B.C. for everyone, this investment will make a real difference for people by enhancing access to services and making it safer and easier to navigate one of our beautiful coastal highways.”

The government says cell service will soon be available at the doorsteps of people in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, Jordan River, as well as some Pacheedaht First Nation communities.

According to a press release, a Wi-Fi connection will be added to a highway rest area near the entrance to Sombrio Beach in an effort to enhance safety and convenience for people passing through.

“Cellular connectivity helps keep the world at your fingertips whenever you leave home. Being able to check your location on a map, plan your route, call home or access emergency services can make all the difference while travelling,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This investment will make this area of the island more accessible to people, knowing they can use their mobile devices whenever they need to along this route.”

The Connecting British Columbia program provides grants that help service providers with the cost of expanding connectivity and making it more reliable in rural and Indigenous communities.

Rogers Communications Ltd. will receive up to $4.9 million from the Connecting British Columbia program towards the cost of building the infrastructure.

“We, like so many emergency responders, have come to rely upon cellular service for voice and data communications. Many online resources enhance our capability and response to people who may be having a life-threatening emergency,” said Vickie Weber, senior manager, Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue. “We are very excited by this announcement and know it will have a significant impact on any search and rescue emergency along this route.”

The cellular service expansion along Highway 14 is slated to be completed by Oct. 31, 2021.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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