SaskTel today announced it will build a permanent cellular tower to meet the communication needs of Back to Batoche, as well as the residents of St. Isidore-de-Bellevue, the One Arrow First Nation and the residents surrounding Batoche.
“The growing importance of Back to Batoche combined with the continuing strength of the surrounding area builds a strong case for SaskTel to expand our 4G coverage here,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “We are committed to building and powering the largest, fastest and most complete wireless network in the Province, and we are pleased to invest in this area and add future strength to these communities.”
"Back to Batoche Days has had amazing growth over the last decade, and SaskTel's support with this infrastructure will help the area and province capitalize on this major tourist attraction and festival celebrating Métis culture and heritage," said Métis Nation of Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette. "This tower will give access to emergency services for the site and local communities, give students technology to enhance learning and further develop the economic opportunities for the festival and permanent residents."
SaskTel will immediately begin the design and development of the tower with an expected operational date of July 2014, depending on weather during construction.
In March, SaskTel announced it will spend an additional $10.7 million on the rural 4G cellular network including 31 new towers and 37 network capacity enhancements to match the continued growth in customer demands on the network. The 4G network provides increased bandwidth with download speeds approximately four times faster than existing speeds (up to 21 megabits per second). It is also compatible with more than 80 per cent of all networks around the world.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel.com) is the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, with $1.2 billion in annual revenue and over 1.4 million customer connections including over 607,000 wireless accesses, 492,000 wireline network accesses, 250,000 internet accesses and 97,000 Max™ (TV) subscribers. SaskTel offers a wide range of communications products and services including competitive voice, data, internet, entertainment, security monitoring, messaging, cellular, wireless data and directory services. In addition, SaskTel International offers software solutions and project consulting in countries around the world. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 4,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).