12/05/2012 09:21 EST | Updated 02/04/2013 05:12 EST

Cellphone service expanding along B.C. highways

Wireless phone and internet will soon be available along a rugged 35-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway from Revelstoke to Malakwa as part of a commitment to provide cell coverage across B.C.

There are still huge swaths of southeast B.C. where there is no cellphone service. The mountains are steep and on most of the major highways through the Kootenays, service is spotty at best.

Telus and the provincial government have committed to try and do something about that.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says there will be service between Malakwa and Revelstoke by the new year, and Telus plans on linking another 1,700 kilometres of B.C. highway within a decade.

“We do provide wireless connection to about 99 percent of B.C.'s population by residence and really the focus right now is highway coverage in rural areas that are not connected,” Hall told CBC News.

Linking highways to phone service is critical, Hall says, because more than half of 911 calls are now made from cell phones.