October 02, 2013 - 1:00 PM
NEW CELL COVERAGE AND HIGH-SPEED DIAL UP LOCAL CONCERNS
CHERRYVILLE - Those traveling along Highway 6 through Cherryville will notice the little X overlaying the service icon on their cell phones has disappeared.
As part of a partnership between the provincial government and Telus, wireless coverage is now live over 20 kilometres between Lumby and Cherryville.
But some people who cite negative health effects from electromagnetic frequencies, or EMFs, want that little X back.
A Cherryville resident who supports wireless declined an interview because of “flack” from local groups opposed to the project.
Those who shun all things wireless are in for another dose of EMFs with the upcoming arrival of high-speed Internet. That service is expected to come online by the end of the year.
Regional district director Eugene Foisy is aware of the concerns.
“Everyone is trying to inform themselves. It’s good that the community is looking into this,” he says.
Look into it as they might, it looks like Cherryville is hooking up to wireless coverage and high-speed.
“We did have a vote on it and the majority of the community was pushing for it,” Foisy says.
The cell coverage initiative was launched to make roadways safer by providing instant connection to emergency services. As part of the 10-year Connecting British Columbia agreement, service will eventually be expanded all the way to Fauquier, covering the entire Highway 6 corridor.
“I’m sure it will save some lives,” Foisy says, adding accidents are common along the winding route, which is particularly popular with motorcyclists.
The initiative is also making dead spots—places where there is no cell coverage or wireless internet—increasingly rare. Communities across B.C. have protested new cell towers in their neighbourhoods over the past few years, insisting it poses a danger to human and environmental health.
A side effect of Cherryville’s new wireless coverage: residents can use it to connect to the Internet. For a family with numerous internet users, Foisy says it’s not really affordable, but it does increase access. When ABC Communications fires up its wireless Internet service, residents will have yet another way to connect.
“A few years ago, we had nothing. Now we have options,” Foisy says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013