The Fraser Canyon is no longer a dead zone for Telus customers.
Cell towers in Yale, Spuzzum and Boston Bar are now up and running, with additional towers in Dogwood Valley and Keefers expected to become operational by early next year. The $4 million project also brings wireless high-speed internet to rural residents for the first time.
“This is an enormously challenging project because of the geography. It’s a sparsely populated area with mountainous terrain,” said Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall. “With more than half of all 911 calls coming in on cell phones today, these towers are going to save lives. This is a very popular, well-used stretch of highway.”
The new cell service is part of a 10-year telecommunications contract between Telus and the B.C. government. Telus is investing $350 million over the next decade in new technology and infrastructure throughout the province, which includes installing wireless sites across 1,700 kilometres of unconnected highway corridors and bringing fibre optic cables to about 450 schools.
Area B director Dennis Adamson said the new cell service and high-speed internet will provide economic and tourism opportunities in the region.
“The people are ecstatic,” he said. “We have been waiting over a decade for this. It’s going to open the doors to making a real boom in the economy by tech businesses.”
Telus has roaming agreements with several carriers, including Bell Mobility. However, customers will have to check with their service provider to find out whether their coverage now extends up the Canyon.