Telus – The Langara Voice News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Tue, 29 Oct 2013 22:55:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Telus – The Langara Voice 32 32 Oakridge residents angry over proposed Telus tower Tue, 29 Oct 2013 22:55:27 +0000 Some south Vancouver residents are angry at city hall and Telus because they weren’t consulted about the construction of a 14.9 meter cell-boosting tower near Oak and 49 Ave.

Community activist Fred Chiu at the installation site for the proposed 14.9 metre Telus tower. Photo by Bill Everitt.

Fred and Linda Chiu, who live four houses from the construction site, said the city sold them out by allowing Telus to build the station slightly below the 15-meter threshold that would have required community consultation.

Tower site will have electric carcharging station

They said the tradeoff was an electric car-charging station that will be a part of the site.

“The city wants to be green, so they let Telus put in the tower and they get a free electric car-charging station,” said Linda Chiu.

The Chius led a protest that began on June 22 and are responsible for signs with messages such as “kids not microwave safe,” and “Telus is not friendly,” posted around the intersection.

The couple said that they don’t want to live next to a cell tower because it’s a health concern; cell towers emit radiation.

Tienfu Kuo, who lives across the street, agrees. He doesn’t trust Telus or medical research showing these sites are safe.

“My friends said the microwaves will be very strong,” he said.

Doctor dismisses fears over radiation

However, Dr. Patricia Daly of the Vancouver Health Authority said those fears are unfounded.

“Cell towers have never been shown to cause any health concerns,” said Daly. “A lot of people don’t understand . . . magnetic fields are produced by things they use everyday, like baby monitors, or any electrical appliance.”

According to Daly, all cellphone sites in Canada are built in accordance with Safety Code 6, a federal code that limits human radiation exposure.

Telus surprised over backlash

Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé was surprised to hear about the resistance from the community members and added the pole is necessary to boost cell reception in an area heavily congested with wireless traffic.

Linda Chiu with a lawn sign she made. Photo by Bill Everitt.

“We are investing $400,00 to enhance coverage in this neighbourhood in response to frequent complaints that service is degrading,” said Sauvé. “Typically the only complaint we receive from customers is what we’re not building them fast enough.”

Reported by Bill Everitt

New Telus antenna at Langara College improves cellphone reception Tue, 01 Oct 2013 23:58:36 +0000
Students can get cellular reception in the basement of the Langara Students’ Union because of the campus’ rooftop microsite.
Photo: Tricia Lo

Langara students can stop chasing cellular signals around the Vancouver campus thanks to a timely $350,000 installation on the campus’ rooftop.

Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé explained the turnaround. “We were aware that people were experiencing slower service than what we want to be providing,” she said.

To fix the problem, she said Telus built a microsite at Langara that went live at the end of May.

The microsite is a small antenna that improves the coverage and the reception one is able to get wirelessly without putting up an extra tower.

Students have fewer reception problems

The result? Former dead zones are now signal hotspots. Science student Tom Dao says he gets full reception in the Langara Students’ Union building now. “I’m surprised. Last semester I would’ve had zero,” he said.

Students complained in past years about the inconveniences and safety issues associated with spotty cellphone reception.

“I never answered my messages and people would get worried,” said science student Kelsey Langille, who would spend late nights studying at school for her midterms.

Last semester, dietetics student Ashley Wong would have to run out into the rain to send a text. “I couldn’t get reception in the library, lecture halls or the cafe,” she said. That’s no longer an issue.

The improvement spreads across other wireless providers

Additionally, the improvements aren’t exclusive to Telus subscribers. Shivani Verma, criminal justice student, says she gets a signal on Virgin Mobile’s network everywhere she couldn’t last year.

Sauvé said, “To eliminate the need for more infrastructure, we have agreements where we roam on one another’s network.”

Reported by Tricia Lo