Rogers Communications is investing $16.5 million to improve cell phone coverage for its customers in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation.
The investment, which will officially be announed this afternoon, includes the construction of new towers and major upgrades to existing cell sites, which will be completed by early 2020.
“Our customers want high-quality wireless services wherever they are, from the Winter Street Market in downtown Kelowna, to skating with their family on Shannon Lake or launching a new tech start-up,” said Rick Sellers, president of the B.C. region for Rogers Communications.
“These investments not only connect customers across Kelowna, West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation to the moments that matter most, they also prepare our network for tomorrow.”
The improvements will significantly improve coverage, reliability and data capacity while laying the foundation for a future 5G network.
The investment also includes premium 600 MHz spectrum Rogers purchased in the federal government’s spectrum auction earlier this year. The spectrum is critical to the deployment of 5G which will enable future-ready technology for Okanagan residents and businesses in the near future.
“Enhanced wireless coverage means that people in Kelowna will have more opportunities to be connected to friends, family, business and their community,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s minister of jobs, trade and technology.
“The network improvements also mean more jobs in the region that will result in economic growth and prosperity for British Columbians.”
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said these investments are critical to attracting people to the city.
“Wireless communication has impacted our lives in so many ways and strong wireless connectivity is important when it comes to attracting new residents, new businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Basran, in a press release.
In addition to network enhancements, Rogers and Fido are supporting the community through investments in the local library and as a sponsor for the Kelowna Winter Market.
A $25,000 Ted Rogers Community Grant to the Okanagan Regional Library will help support the creation of a larger, dedicated teen zone that will be designed and equipped to suit the needs of teens in the community.
The annual Downtown Kelowna Winter Street Market and tree lighting will take place in Stuart Park on Dec. 1. This free community event welcomes the holiday season with live entertainment, festive treats, delicious street food and skating.
The new investments come on the heels of network enhancements across the Okanagan, and a recently announced B.C. customer solution centre coming to the Landmark District of Kelowna in the summer of 2020. The new centre will add 350 high-quality jobs in the region, which will grow to 500 over time.