The city of Winnipeg has announced that it is planning to deploy two new cell phones on the downtown core by the end of the year.
It’s an ambitious plan to expand the range of wireless internet service, one of the key areas where Winnipeg has struggled with low uptake.
The project will bring the city’s total number of cell towers up to 6,000.
It will also include a tower at the University of Manitoba, which will be used for high-speed internet connections to businesses and students.
A new wireless tower in the downtown area of Winnipeg, pictured, is expected to be operational by the spring.
(CBC)The new cell towers will be part of a $5-million upgrade to the city of Manitoba’s cell phone network, according to the provincial government.
They will be placed at the intersection of King and Queen Streets, just east of the Canadian Tire Centre.
This is the first time that Manitoba has deployed cell phones in the central business district, which has long been the most popular place to access the internet.
A new cell tower in Winnipeg, as seen from King Street.
(Paul Ritchie/CBC)There are now more than 6,500 cellphone towers across the province, and the city plans to increase its wireless coverage by 50 per cent in 2017.
The province has been trying to expand its network, which relies on a network of towers around the city, by adding more data connections.
However, the new tower plan is being hailed by the city and others in Winnipeg as a step towards the goal of getting a cellphone network up and running by the middle of the next decade.
“We know we can’t get to 100 per cent wireless coverage until we have these towers up and operational,” said John Furlong, director of the city infrastructure office.
“The towers will give us an opportunity to do that in the first year of operation, and then build a network for the future.”
The new towers are expected to bring the total number (at the end the year) of cell phones up to around 6,100, he added.
Furlong says the city will be able to expand this network with an additional 100 cell towers.
One of the towers will have a high-frequency antenna, which is used to deliver internet to the entire downtown core, Furlink said.
The city is also looking to use the new towers for mobile hotspots and the transmission of voice and video to remote areas.