B.C. bringing cell service to another 550 km of highway

“Can you hear me now?”

The answer to that question posed by commercials for Verizon should be a little more positive on B.C. highways, thanks to expanding cellular networks in the province.

The provincial government will invest $75 million to expand cellular service to another 550 km of highway by 2027, under the Connecting British Columbia program administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.

cell service
(Illustration: istock)

The funds build on $15 million invested into expanding highway cellular coverage in 2020, to support 532 km of additional highway cellular coverage. Current work will address 252 km and two rest areas to offer continuous coverage along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, known as the Highway of Tears.

“An emergency on a remote highway is often critical in nature. Currently, without cellular service, victims of motor-vehicle incidents can be stranded for hours until someone happens upon them and can send for help,” Campbell River RCMP Sgt. Kimberly Rutherford said in a press release.

“Improving cellular service will be a game changer in how quickly people will be able to access the emergency response they need when they need it.”

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  • Nice to see cellular expansion where needed for safety.
    Another “forgoton hwy” is Hwy 5a, from Merritt to Kamloops, 100 of trucks use this corridor daily, and it is quite prone to accidents. Two thirds of this route has no cell coverage.
    Certainly should be another priority.

  • …and I wonder how long it’ll be before the 700km of Alaska Hwy gets coverage in the forgotten corner of NE BC?

  • I think they have missed the proverbial boat again.
    Cell coverage may drop out on occasion on the stretch between Kitwanga and Terrace and a few locations en route to Prince Rupert but the real issue is the highway 37 corridor from Kitwanga to the Yukon border.
    Unless you have Starlink or you bang on someone’s door, you are in the dark ages and there is no connection anywhere.
    I just experienced this last January when I had a collision with another vehicle due to extremely poor highway maintenance practices.
    Luckily it happened at Bell 1 and a construction crew allowed us to use their internet connection.
    Let’s revisit this and include the communities north of Kitwanga to the Yukon border.
    Many lives can be spared.

  • Highway 16 from Jasper, AB to Valemount, BC definitely needs cell service. Thousands of trucks travel that 100 Km’s stretch every day. Absolutely nothing out there. Many severe accidents around Moose Lake over the years were lives could have been saved if first responders could have been reached sooner. Cell service from Valemount to Blue River is a must also.