From left to right: ACRD board chair John Jack, Rogers Communications regional president Rick Sellers and Sproat Lake regional director Penny Cote. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

New cell tower brings wireless service to Sproat Lake

Rogers Communications tower will provide coverage for 2,000 residents

Rogers Communications has announced improved wireless service in Sproat Lake with a new cell tower installed on Faber Road.

The tower, which has been up since the end of December, will offer Rogers and Fido customers in the community a faster, more reliable and consistent wireless experience.

Rogers worked with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) to build the new cellular tower, which will benefit residents, visitors, travellers, businesses and local emergency responders.

Penny Cote, ACRD regional director for Sproat Lake, has been lobbying for cell coverage in Sproat Lake for four years. She said her prime concern for improved cell coverage was a lack of safety for residents and visitors alike.

“There were many areas that weren’t covered and access to landlines wasn’t available,” she said.

The new tower will provide coverage for approximately 2,000 permanent residents, and more than double this in the summer months, as well as coverage for many others in the Alberni Valley. The connectivity, Cote said, will also increase economic opportunities and support local businesses.

Although this cell tower will not extend coverage any further west along Highway 4, Cote said she hopes this can be the first step towards getting cell coverage for the whole highway. Communities have been lobbying for improved service for the highway, especially after a crash last November where a two-vehicle collision was not reported to first responders for roughly 30 minutes.

READ: Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni call for emergency phones on Hwy. 4 after crash

Rick Sellers, the regional president for Rogers Communications, agreed that Rogers is interested in extending cell phone coverage to more rural communities. “We work very closely with the provincial government to ensure that we can work wherever we can with you,” he said. “We’ll help out when we can.”

Cell coverage, he said, is something that people in urban areas often take for granted, but having access to a reliable network is essential for all communities.

“It’s no longer a luxury item, it’s a necessity,” he said.

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