Three-year partnership will expand wireless coverage, develop stronger LTE networks in rural and urban communities

The B.C. government is partnering with Rogers to expand the province’s wireless networks. The $450-million, three-year plan will expand wireless coverage in more than 70 communities in the province’s northeast, Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Rogers says the project will provide more reliable access to emergency services to B.C. citizens, including along highways and in remote communities. The plan includes a 700 MHz spectrum enhancement to existing LTE wireless connections which will extend Internet access deeper inside buildings, including in elevators and basements.

When the project is complete, Rogers will have pumped a total of $2 billion into its B.C. network.

Rogers says it is providing high-speed network technologies to over 98 per cent of B.C’s population. Mobile video alone is expected to account for over two-thirds of the world’s data traffic by 2018. Nearly two thirds of British Columbian residents own a smart phone, using it on average 1.7 hours per day to check email (77 per cent), search online (69 per cent) and stream video (33 per cent).

“The majority of British Columbians use a smart phone at work, school, or at home – and demand is rising fast,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This investment means more British Columbians, in more parts of the province, will have more and better wireless internet access, which will allow them to stay connected to news, opportunities, and each other.”

Rogers (Nasdaq: RCI) has already rolled out 700 MHz spectrum to communities in Vancouver, extending signal quality in basements, elevators and in buildings with thick concrete walls. The company says it will continue to expand high-speed LTE network coverage to other parts of the province.

The northeastern part of B.C. has the province’s largest number of self-employed people and has been identified as one of the key targets for network expansion.

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