New cell service coming to Highway of Tears

Witset First Nation was the only nation in B.C. still without cell service on the northern highway

A stretch of Highway 16, also known as the Highway of Tears, will soon be gaining cellular service.

A new Rogers cellphone tower will be constructed along 22 kilometres of the highway, between New Hazelton and Smithers, the province announced Friday, Oct. 26.

Witset, which is comprised of seven First Nation communities, is the only nation in B.C. still without cell service along the northern highway.

The project broke ground in late September, and is expected to be complete in coming months. The cell tower will enable voice, data and text services through high-speed wireless and internet coverage on 4G and LTW networks for Rogers and Fido customers. Meanwhile, customers on other providers will be able to dial 911 at anytime.

The Highway of Tears is a site where many women, mainly Indigenous women, have been murdered or disappeared, along the 720-kilometre route between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

Chastity Davis, chair of the minister’s advisory council on Indigenous women, said cell service will end isolation for women travelling along the highway.

“Better cell phone coverage means women can reach loved ones or emergency services in times of need, and it will create security and reassurance to everyone travelling on Highway 16,” Davis said.

The project is being funded through a $1.2-million grant through the province.

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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