By late 2024, residents will receive wireless connection for the very first time
By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The biggest takeaway from COVID is the importance of connection. There was a physical disconnection when many became isolated from their families and friends.
Meetings, business or personal, were held through online platforms. But imagine not having that option and outlet.
That was the case for our Albertan neighbours, Tallcree First Nation, who have never had an internet connection in their community.
That is all about to change with an announcement in late August that the Tallcree Tribal Government will be partnering with TELUS and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to celebrate a commitment to bring wireless connectivity to their community.
“We are pleased to announce to the communities of North and South Tallcree this tremendous opportunity for our people,” said Chief Rupert Meneen, Tallcree Tribal Government, in the statement. “We have been awaiting this announcement since 2019. Chief and Council and our administration have worked in partnership with TELUS wireless services and the CRTC on this project for several years.
“This project opens greater opportunity for our members in these communities. It brings the world to our doorstep and allows our communities to broaden their networks. We are pleased to be working with TELUS in this partnership and are extremely grateful to Brian Bettis and his team at TELUS for working so very hard on this project and extremely grateful to the CRTC for recognizing the importance of these communication tools that help our communities to remain connected. This project will provide the opportunities to our people that other communities have closer to larger centres and the Chief and Council encourage our communities to take full advantage of the services.”
This commitment was made after the CRTC approved funding for TELUS to build two new cellular sites in Tallcree First Nation through the CRTC Broadband Fund. The project is currently underway and is expected to be completed by late 2024. It will connect more than 300 households in Tallcree First Nation to TELUS’ wireless service. The service will improve the community’s livelihood immensely, giving small businesses a new resource to thrive and more importantly, allowing families to finally connect with those that live elsewhere, no matter how far away. This will also open the door for young people to pursue online education if they want to stay closer to home, longer. The wireless service will provide a lifeline to call for help in the event of an emergency. It will also allow the community access to TELUS Health, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care.
Since 2000, TELUS has invested $220 billion nationally in network infrastructure, operations, and spectrum, which includes more than $55 billion in technology and operations in Alberta. This partnership builds upon TELUS’ commitment to bring world-class connectivity to communities across the province while providing the technological backbone for economic recovery and strength, well into the future. TELUS honours their longstanding commitment to strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, acknowledging that the work they do spans many Traditional Territories and Treaty areas.
“TELUS is committed to ensuring everyone can thrive in our digital world, no matter where they live,” said Tony Geheran, TELUS executive vice president and chief operations officer (COO) in the press release. “We are proud to work alongside Tallcree First Nation and the CRTC to bring wireless connectivity to Tallcree First Nation members. This is part of our ongoing commitment to enable rural and Indigenous communities across the province, equipping residents and businesses with the speeds and coverage they need to connect to the people and information that matter the most.”
With many residents who live in smaller communities located on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa peoples and the land chosen as home by the Métis peoples within our Columbia Valley, some also may have felt isolated from loved ones during the pandemic as they too, went without wireless service. We all long for connections and as a smaller community ourselves can certainly see the true blessings that will fall upon our neighbouring Tallcree First Nation as their community receives wireless services, opening a world of possibilities and connections. To learn more about TELUS’ commitment to Reconciliation visit telus.com/reconciliation.