The B.C. government announced Wednesday that cellular service is going to expand past Sooke to Port Renfrew along a 70 km stretch of Highway 14. (Black Press Media file)

The B.C. government announced Wednesday that cellular service is going to expand past Sooke to Port Renfrew along a 70 km stretch of Highway 14. (Black Press Media file)

Cellular reception to be expanded past Sooke to Port Renfrew

B.C. government announces cellular project for 70-km stretch of Highway 14

Getting lost without cell service may be a predicament of the past when travelling along Vancouver Island’s Highway 14.

The province announced Wednesday that cellular service is going to expand past Sooke to Port Renfrew along a 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 14. This addition aims to improve safety for residents and travellers along that section of road, which hasn’t had cellular connection in the past.

“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,” stated Premier John Horgan in the announcement. “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.”

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The province’s website notes the project, which is part of the Connecting British Columbia program in BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, is anticipated to reach over 1,200 homes in the region. It will bring cellular service to residents in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, Jordan River and some Pacheedaht First Nation communities.

As well, a rest area near the entrance to Sombrio Beach will also provide wifi connection for visitors.

“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,” states Lisa Beare, minister of citizens’ services, on the province’s website.

“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 grant program helps fund the expansion of cell service to rural and Indigenous communities. For this project, Rogers Communications Ltd. has been granted up to $4.9 million towards infrastructure costs.

The Highway 14 cellular project is expected to be complete by the end of October. For more information, please visit www2.gov.bc.ca.

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