Good news for those travelling a large stretch of Vancouver Island’s Highway 14 or exploring the Juan de Fuca Trail as the province announces plans to expand the cellular service in that area.

In a media release from the province, the BC government announced cellular service is being expanded along a 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

The project will bring cellular service to people living in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, Jordan River, as well as some Pacheedaht First Nation communities.

“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 Connecting British Columbia program was expanded in September 2020 as part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. A mandate was included to improve access to cellular for people in rural and Indigenous communities.

A highway rest area near the entrance to Sombrio Beach will also be upgraded to provide a Wi-Fi connection.

“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.”

“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,” said Weber.

Rogers has been selected to build the infrastructure which will include their 5G network.

The cost of the project is estimated to be around $4.9 million.

Work on Highway 14 cellular project is scheduled for completion by Oct. 31, 2021.

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