TELUS invests more than $500,000 to bring wireless service to Ahousaht for the first time
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TELUS has invested more than $500,000 to build a new cell site in Ahousaht, a remote community off the west coast of Tofino on Vancouver Island, and is the first provider to bring high-speed wireless voice, text and Internet service to the community. Construction on the cell tower is nearing completion and TELUS anticipates the site will be live this December, providing residents and visitors in the area access to TELUS’ 4G LTE network, which has earned global recognition as the best network in Canada from third party organizations including OpenSignal, J.D. Power, Tutela, and Ookla.
“We have been engaged with the community of Ahousaht First Nation for over a year to collaboratively determine the best way to bring wireless service to this remote area, recognizing how critical this service is to Ahousaht residents, enabling them to thrive in our increasingly digital world,” said Shaye Draper, TELUS General Manager for Vancouver Island. “Perhaps most critically, this new wireless coverage means residents can call for help in the event of an accident or medical emergency, and access previously unavailable services such as consulting with a physician through the Babylon by TELUS Health app. We are tremendously grateful to the community of Ahousaht for their ongoing support for this new connectivity, and their partnership with TELUS.”
The Babylon by TELUS Health app complements existing healthcare services across the province, particularly for people living in rural areas. With the free downloadable Babylon by TELUS Health app, British Columbians have access to a sophisticated symptom checker, and can schedule a live video consultation with a licenced B.C. physician. This gives residents the ability to have a video appointment with a doctor from the comfort of their home or office, all from a smartphone. This technology promises to be life-changing for residents in rural areas, like Ahousaht, where it can be challenging to access timely, local healthcare.
“Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia need to have access to technologies to fully participate in the digital age,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “People living in Ahousaht will be connected to cellular service and improved internet access for the first time. Better access means community members will benefit from digital tools that can increase health services, education and employment opportunities.”
This $500,000 investment is in addition to the billions of dollars TELUS spends on purchasing spectrum from the federal government, and the millions of dollars spent annually to maintain and upgrade TELUS wireless networks for the benefit of their customers. TELUS serves 178 of B.C.’s First Nations with wireless and broadband wireline technologies, and has collaborated with 46 Indigenous Governments to bring TELUS PureFibre to their communities, including 12 in collaboration with the All Nations Trust Company’s Pathways to Technology program.
“The Province continues to work with other levels of government and private-sector companies like TELUS to find new ways to expand cellular coverage in British Columbia,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “We have made the Province’s largest-ever investment with $50 million in new funding to the Connecting British Columbia program to lay the groundwork through broadband infrastructure to help connect more communities in rural B.C. Today’s announcement is another important step to connecting everyone in B.C. – no matter where they live in the province.”
Construction on the site began earlier this year following a comprehensive engineering review. Where possible, TELUS engages local contractors to support their network investments, and hired local equipment and equipment operators to build the site, and also used locally available concrete and gravel. TELUS expects that once live, the site will provide wireless coverage to the vast majority of the community and new development area.
This investment is part of TELUS’ commitment to invest $4.7 billion throughout British Columbia between 2017 and 2020, at no cost to taxpayers. For more information about TELUS’ commitment to serving First Nations communities, please click here.
About TELUS TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with $14.6 billion in annual revenue and 14.5 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. We leverage our global-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. TELUS Health is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider, and TELUS International delivers the most innovative business process solutions to some of the world’s most established brands.
Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all Canadians for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired our team members and retirees to contribute more than $700 million and 1.3 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.
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