WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
After a wave of complaints about their unreliable cell phone service, Port Alice residents have finally been heard.
TELUS is installing a 48 metre monopole cell site at the municipal works yard to enhance cellular service to the village of Port Alice and the Neroutsos Inlet. The project is slated to be completed and providing full service by the end of 2021.
“The Village of Port Alice is happy to be collaborating with TELUS to bring much needed improvements to communications in the Village of Port Alice,” commented Mayor Kevin Cameron. “TELUS has been great to work with and has done everything they could to speed up the construction of the new cell tower. The Village is looking forward to vastly improved service in the future.”
Shaye Draper, TELUS General Manager for Vancouver Island and North Coasts, stated, “TELUS values our partnerships with Vancouver Island communities to extend connectivity to rural areas. The Village of Port Alice has been a great advocate for improved service in the community and it has been a pleasure for TELUS to work with the Village to deliver this service as quickly as possible. When the new cell site is complete, the community will benefit from a world-class level of wireless service that we hope will enable personal connections and help contribute to economic prosperity of the residents of Port Alice through reliable connectivity.”
TELUS representative, Lena Chen, adds, “A reliable wireless signal is not only important to stay connected while at home, at work, or on the go; it also enhances safety throughout town as more than 70 per cent of calls to 911 these days come from a cell phone. Notably, TELUS is the only telecommunications provider that has invested to build a wireless tower to bring service to this area, and we look forward to moving quickly so that we can enhance services for the benefit of residents as soon as possible. We look forward to engaging with residents and keeping the community updated as we move forward.”
When informed about the new cell phone tower coming at the end of 2021, Port Alice resident Cathy Andersen commented, “I only get not even one bar in my home, so I’m hoping that I can sit on my couch and not have to stand in front of a window to get cell service!”
On a phone line that was fading in and out, Kathleen Cheetham stated, “I’m looking forward to having reception — we need it!”
The Cheethams live on the outer limits of town and haven’t been getting any cell reception at all. They pay for landlines and can only use their cellphones when they are away from home.
Michelle McGraw, who runs a home-based hair salon in the lower level of her home, asserts, “As a small business owner, I need progressive service and right now I get none.” She needs it for staying in contact with clients, to schedule their appointments and so they can “keep up with what’s the latest and greatest.” McGraw adds, “When we have no internet or cell service because our lines are down that impedes by business—which loses me money!”
McGraw, who has a husband and two teenaged children, pays $400 a month for four phones and two tablets. She can get reception in certain locations in her home but none in her salon. She uses WiFi Calling for her phone to work, but when the internet is out, which is also a TELUS service, she can’t be contacted. She added, “my son does his schooling online… so today, he got zero done in school because this morning we had no internet… now I’m working so he’s trying to catch up. Some days are better than others!”
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