A cell tower is pictured in rural Ontario on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

A cell tower is pictured in rural Ontario on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Connected future for Saik’uz First Nation

Cellular tower to be constructed by Telus within the community

The wait for reliable internet and cellular signal will soon be over for Saik’uz First Nation.

Telus is anticipated to begin construction this month on a cellular tower that will be located within the community near its church.

“We have started this almost six years ago, and we are finally getting the tower,” Chief Priscilla Mueller said.

Upon entering the Indigenous community located approximately 15 kilometres south of Vanderhoof, dropped calls are common as cellular network coverage is limited.

At the band office, staff have been making do with what they can.

“If you ever come up here, you would know there’s absolutely zero [cell] service, even up in the band office,” general manager Tracy Appel said.

“Even wifi and internet, it is tough.”

The cellular tower to be constructed by TELUS will provide the Saik'uz community access to reliable internet and cell…

Posted by Saik'uz First Nation on Thursday, April 29, 2021

Appel said she has sometimes had to tell others to wait their turn when they can have a Zoom meeting as too many at the same time will slow down their internet.

Further details on the project are expected to be released in the coming week, said Telus, adding it is committed to enhancing network connectivity across the province.

The tower will not only provide access to dependable internet and cell phone signal but valuable options for those within the community.

“Because of COVID-19 the technology world is changing, and having this tower means our members are able to go online for school and to join in on community updates and meetings, etcetera,” Mueller said, adding they would like to provide mini-courses to their members on how to join a Zoom meeting.

“We are happy to be able to bring this to our community as most of our member homes do not have internet or cell access.”

Read More: COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

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