Rural cellular service as an economic development contributor
Nearly $1.5 million in funding has been announced to construct two towers in Raleigh and St. Lunaire-Griquet that will improve and expand cellular coverage throughout the St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) region on the Great Northern Peninsula. The project will see the construction of an 80-metre Long-Term Evolution (LTE) tower in Raleigh at Ha Ha Mountain and a SimpleCell pole in St. Lunaire-Griquet at the top of St. Brendan’s Trail. The installation will improve and expand the mobile network coverage and bring High Speed Packet Access and LTE mobile technologies to approximately 4,000 residents from St. Anthony Airport to Goose Cove East and the 30,000 plus tourist that visit the region. The project will be cost-shared between SABRI, Bell Canada and the provincial government and the towers are scheduled to be operational by December, 2019.
This is an excellent opportunity for a researcher to examine how the provision of cellular services within this sixteen-community rural region can be beneficial as an economic development enabler that contributes to the viability of the region. Research such as surveys or interviews could be completed with local organizations and visitors to gather baseline data about their current communications experiences in the region. Once the towers are built and cellular service is available, then local organizations and visitors could be contacted again to see if/how the addition of the service has changed their experiences. SABRI could act as a local contact providing guidance on what information would be most valuable for the region.