In his presentation, Anastos talked about the existing agreement between the provincial government and TELUS, to increase Internet connectivity in various communities, as well as expand cellular service along a number of provincial highways.
The new expansion would result in the installation of over 1,700 kilometres of new cellular services along sections of primary and secondary highways throughout B.C.
The majority of these cell sites would be located on Crown land.
In his presentation, Anastos says the new services would contribute to economic development in rural areas and would allow rural residents a better opportunity to connect with friends and families, while also providing safer highway conditions due to extended cellular service.
TELUS is currently abiding by the Industry Canada Public Consultation Requirements: Client Procedures Circular, which outlines when and how cellular carriers must consult with land use authorities and the public prior to the installation of telecommunication towers or antenna.
When discussing which highways would see improvements, Anastos says that the project is still in its early development phase, so it is hard to pinpoint specifics, but says TELUS is looking into extended service on Highway 97, south of Fort St. John.
Following his presentation, Anastos took comments and questions from the Peace River Regional District Council, where he received a large amount of support for this initiative, mainly due to safety.
According to Councillor Christensen, the lack of cell phone service on northern B.C. highways is a serious safety concern, which he would like to see addressed through this project. His support was shared by various other councilors, including the Chair of the PRRD, Karen Gooding.
It appears the PRRD isn’t the only district to show their support, as Anastos says the same presentation has been made to nine other regional districts, who have also expressed their support of the expansion.