Free WI-FI coming to a rest stop near you

A number of rest areas across British Columbia will soon offer another comfort service — free WI-FI.

But if you’re planning to pop out for free drive-friendly access to the internet anywhere near Osoyoos, you’ll have to wait awhile.

No Okanagan locations are “on the list” for 2017.

The Britton Creek rest area at the summit of the Coquihalla Highway is the first rest area in the province to offer free Wi-Fi to the travelling public, the province’s Ministry of Transportation announced this morning.

The service, it says, will provide “motorists an opportunity to stop, take a rest and connect with family and friends.”

A second location — at the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16, north of Smithers — also has free WI-FI.

Through a partnership with TELUS and ICBC, the Province is installing Wi-Fi at the following rest area locations by the end of 2017, with more locations to follow in the coming years:

  • Taylor River, Highway 4 –  37 km west of Port Alberni
  • Galena Bay, Highway 23 – 49 km north of Nakusp
  • Mount Terry Fox, Highway 16 – 6 km east of Tete Jaune
  • Loon Lake, Highway 97C – 40 km east of Merritt

“These locations were chosen for variety of reasons, including whether the rest area was on a major route or if there was existing electrical service at the site,” explained Sonia Lowe, a public affairs officer with the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“More locations will be announced as they are developed in the coming years.”

The expansion of free public Wi-Fi in rest areas will allow drivers to stay connected and avoid using their phones on the road, creating safer conditions for all road users by reducing incidents of distracted driving, the province says.

The addition of Wi-Fi is also expected to benefit the commercial trucking sector by allowing commercial operators to rest, access washroom facilities and stay connected.

The ministry has also added Wi-Fi to select commercial vehicle inspection centres throughout the province.

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