Voters push for next MP to tackle cell-service issue in southeastern Man.
Josh Crabb, CTV Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2:33PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 13, 2015 6:02PM CST
Voters in Provencher want their next member of Parliament to address the issue of cellphone service in the southeastern Manitoba riding.
Bev Neufeld owns a salon in Steinbach but lives in Roseau River along Highway 59 where there's no cell service.
Neufeld said not having cell service is a safety concern, especially when driving in the winter. She wants the federal government to intervene and force providers to improve their coverage in the southeast corner of the province.
Provencher Liberal candidate Terry Hayward said, if elected, he'd like to meet with telecommunications companies to discuss the issue.
Green Party candidate Jeff Wheeldon said the federal government should mandate providers to improve service "along major highways, near border crossings and in towns with a reasonable population."
NDP candidate Les Lilley said providers are profitable enough they could afford to enhance service in these areas on their own.
Lilley said if providers aren't willing to do it on their own, government funding could be the answer to help add cell coverage to under-serviced areas of the riding.
In August, MTS expanded service to Piney, Man.
At the time of that announcement, CEO Jay Forbes said the MTS wireless network now covers 98 per cent of the province's population.
"This specific expansion benefits both the residents of Piney and the surrounding rural municipality, as well as travellers along Highway 12,” said Forbes in a news release from August.
Incumbent Conservative candidate Ted Falk was not available for an on-camera interview Tuesday. His campaign team said his schedule was full. However, Falk provided comments to CTV News via email.
"This is a good step forward on cell service but there’s more work to be done. I will continue to put pressure on providers to bring new service to all areas of the riding," said Falk.
In a statement, MTS spokesperson Andrew Parkinson said: "MTS does not have any plans for further expansion in southeastern Manitoba at this time."
Parkinson said in areas where it's not economically viable for MTS to improve service, government funding can be a solution.
Parkinson said MTS would be willing to meet with stakeholders to discuss further service expansions.