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Rogers improves public safety and wireless coverage on Highway 16 in British Columbia

Three new wireless towers in-service along Highway of Tears, part of company’s commitment to connect Indigenous communities

Rogers Communications has turned on three new cellular towers along British Columbia’s (B.C.) Highway 16, providing 911 access for all travellers and 5G wireless coverage for customers. This is part of the company’s commitment to truth and reconciliation, including investing in its networks to connect Indigenous communities.

“We are proud to provide 50 kilometres of 5G cellular connectivity on sections of Highway 16, as part of our continues work to bring seamless wireless service between Prince Rupert and Prince George,” said Ron McKenzie, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Rogers. “Working with Indigenous communities and government partners, Rogers is honoured to be part of this generational project to increase safety on the Highway of Tears for travellers and residents, and honour survivors, victims and their families.”

The new towers are part of an ongoing wireless service expansion project made possible through partnership with provincially funded Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the federal Universal Broadband Fund, to improve safety and wireless coverage gaps along the section of highway known as the Highway of Tears. This corridor between Prince Rupert and Prince George honours the memory of the many Indigenous women and girls who have disappeared or have been found murdered along the route.

“These new cellular towers are lifelines to all of us who travel along Highway 16 regularly, and we are hopeful they will help prevent future tragedies,” said Mary Teegee, a Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) activist. “It has been deeply rewarding watching this project unfold, and we look forward to celebrating its completion and benefiting from the social and economic advantages it provides.”

Together with a previously completed tower in Seaton, the new tower at Seeley Lake Park is providing 13 kilometres of new wireless coverage and two new towers are providing 37 kilometres of new coverage between Seven Sisters Mountain and Pacific. Once all the project’s towers are completed, Rogers will provide 252 kilometres of new cellular coverage along Highway 16, closing gaps to ensure continuous coverage along the entire 720-kilometre corridor. This will establish a safer environment for travel, and fulfill one of the recommendations in the 2006 Highway of Tears Symposium report to enhance safety for Indigenous women and girls. 

“Providing cellular connectivity along the Highway of Tears is a critical step towards reconciliation for Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people,” said Lisa Beare, B.C.’s Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Our government is committed to expanding coverage along all B.C. highways no matter where they are. By working in collaboration with Indigenous communities, Rogers, and all levels of government, we can build a safer province for everyone.”

“Wireless connectivity along highways keeps people safer. Initiatives like this project on Highway 16 will give women, especially Indigenous women, who find themselves in unsafe situations a real lifeline,” said the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development. “Our government is committed to making sure all Canadians are safe and connected. This investment is part of the $50 million set aside through the Universal Broadband Fund for mobile internet projects, and is just one of the ways our government is improving the lives of people living in rural, Indigenous and remote communities.”

The Highway 16 project is part of Rogers’ ongoing commitment to expand service and improve connectivity for underserved rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in B.C. and across Canada. Rogers has been working with all levels of government to make network and innovation investments throughout the province, including other cellular expansion projects along Highways 3, 4, 14, 95 and 97  in B.C.