Rogers today announced partnerships with U.S. satellite companies SpaceX and Lynk Global to bring texting to phones in remote locations, where there is usually no network.
“Emergencies do not wait, and that is one of the reasons why we are investing to make sure Canadians can always reach 911 from anywhere in Canada,” said Rogers chief executive officer, Tony Staffieri.
The service will start with SMS texting, and over time will expand to include voice and data for users with 5G and 4G smartphones, Rogers said.
With these partnerships, Rogers seeks to improve public safety in Canada.
The company’s recent takeover of the wireless service on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is also aimed at connecting Canadians wherever they are, as the safety of riders is increasingly a pressing issue in Canada.
The satellite coverage will also include remote highways, wilderness areas, national parks and Northern communities.
So far, Rogers has conducted successful technical tests with Lynk satellites in remote British Columbia, and will start testing in Atlantic Canada.
“When complete, this added and innovative approach to bring services to the hardest to reach areas of our province will increase the safety of people and first responders in B.C. and throughout Canada,” said Lisa Beare, B.C.’s Minister of Citizens’ Services.
Rogers said it will work closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and first responder emergency services to obtain regulatory approvals and bring this technology to Canada.
Rogers said in the Lynk announcement that it will begin expanding satellite-to-phone coverage in 2024, but no timeline is specified for SpaceX service.