The provincial and federal governments are investing in cellular connectivity on Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George.

According to a news release, the Connecting British Columbia program and the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund will provide telecommunications company Rogers $4.5 million towards the $11.6 million cost of installing cellular infrastructure.

The infrastructure will provide cellular coverage in areas of weak signal strength between Prince Rupert and Smithers.

12 cellular towers are expected to be installed along the Highway, which will provide 252 kilometres of new Highway Cellular coverage.

The province said this will close several gaps along the corridor.

The project will also include coverage to three rest areas along the highway, located at Boulder Creek, Basalt Creek and Sanderson Point.

It also added expanding the cell coverage on the highway will ensure that women and Indigenous women can call for help if needed and receive the services needed to ensure safety and security.

A Symposium Report had 33 recommendations to enhance safety for Indigenous women and girls, which was also echoed in the National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2022.

The investment is a part of the Connecting British Columbia’s $90 million grant to encourage broadband and cellular infrastructure.

The program continues to accept applications from internet and cellular service providers for grants for its Economic Recovery Intake.