Cellular Service Expansion in Newfoundland Rural Areas

While Newfoundland has many larger city and town centers, there are plenty of small rural communities as well. Due to the location and sometimes low populations of these rural areas, it can often be a challenge to provide services that we may take for granted in larger areas. This especially applies to services not provided by government, where it simply may not make financial sense for a company to provide a service like cellular coverage.

Yes, believe it or not there are spots in Newfoundland where you can go and see that “No Service” indicator on your cell phone.. something that rarely happens these days!

There are some obvious benefits to having cellular coverage in a particular area, including safety. In today’s connected world it may feel mind-boggling to imagine not being able to communicate using your mobile device. These smartphones are also virtually essential to tourists nowadays. These areas can also encourage settlement and new businesses by having cellular coverage.

It’s for these reasons that the government of Newfoundland & Labrador felt it was a good idea to invest to help bring cellular service to rural areas. Understandably, if a company cannot turn a profit by doing so on their own, we end up with situations where areas simply go without cellular coverage.

As part of a new plan, the Newfoundland & Labrador government have partnered with Bell Canada in a cost-sharing agreement to bring wireless coverage to currently unserved and underserved areas: South East Labrador, Great Northern Peninsula, King’s Point, Port au Port Peninsula, Pouch Cove, Lord’s Cove.

Presently all or parts of these areas are without any cellular service or the service is poor.

Pouch Cove: Marine Park

Pouch Cove (Tourism tip: pronounced “pooch”) is located on the heavily populated Avalon Peninsula. While there are parts of Pouch Cove that do have cellular service, the area of interest here is a popular vacation and fun spot for both tourists and locals, Marine Park. With a beach, mini golf, canteen, store, hiking trail, and camping area, there was only one thing missing: cellular service!

While maybe not a bad thing, locals and tourists who visited Marine Park had no choice but to put the phones away and enjoy themselves. Marine Park is an all-season campground that has developed into a significant tourism attraction in the community, attracting over 4,000 campers and day-users during the peak summer season. There’s a need to provide better access for visitors, and of course, a higher level of emergency service accessibility. The cost-sharing agreement between Bell, NL Government, Town of Pouch Cove, and Marine Park will bring cellular access to visitors at the park.

King’s Point

King’s Point is a small town located in Green Bay. In recent years, they’ve experienced a boost in their tourism industry as the town has become a popular stop for tour operators. Currently without any cellular coverage, the investment will be a boost to the  region, and help with tourism growth strategies. Mayor Perry Gillingham said “This will be vital technology and a much needed asset to our town,” “This will provide cell service for our town residents and businesses along with our growing tourism industry. This will also benefit the King’s Point Fire Department with emergency communication. This service will bring economic development to our community as well.”

Lord’s Cove

Through a cost-shared agreement with the Town of Lord’s Cove and Bell, the Provincial Government is contributing over $25,000 to provide cellular service in Lord’s Cove, which currently does not have any access to coverage. This non-repayable contribution represents 25 per cent of funding for the total project, which is estimated to cost over $102,000. Bell is contributing approximately $60,000, with the Town of Lord’s Cove funding the remaining portion.

This funding enables the deployment of Bell’s LTE (Long Term Evolution) broadband wireless technology throughout the community.

The Town of Lord’s Cove is located on the southern portion of the Burin Peninsula. Several new commercial enterprises have opened in Lord’s Cove in the past few years, along with the enhancement of Sandy Cove Beach.

Port au Port Peninsula

Funding will support the deployment of a new Long-Term Evolution (LTE) SimpleCell on a new 25 metre pole between the communities of Mainland and Three Rock Cove. LTE will be deployed at 700MHz allowing for greater reach in rural areas and greater building penetration. LTE technology is the fastest and most advanced wireless technology available.

“Our government continues to deliver on commitments made in The Way Forward, and today’s cellular infrastructure announcement is another indication of that. By improving cell service on the Port au Port peninsula, we are helping to contribute to economic growth and development in the Mainland and Three Rock Cove region. I commend RDEE TNL for their work to see cellular service established in this Francophone area of our province, and I look forward to experiencing the anticipated community development as a result.”

Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

 

These announcements are great news for the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador! We hope you’ll pay the province a visit soon.