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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cell Phone Service Sucks In Rural Pennsylvania

'We're Like a Third World Country'

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


During Appropriations Committee hearings today with the Office of the Administration, Senator Mary Jo White questioned why getting cell phone service in rural areas of the state seems to very low on the state's priority list.

"We're like a Third World country up there," White said, referring particularly to the western and northwestern part of the state.

She said when driving from her Warren office to her Oil City office she has coverage only about one-fifth of the time. She added that there are some places along Interstate 80 where you can't get coverage.

"I think in a state, in this time and place, that is just unimaginable," White said.

She said when the Office of Public Safety first started working on its project to provide emergency radio service to the entire state – in 1996 – she talked to the state police and technicians about making space available on their towers for cell phone providers.

"I think that is a matter of public safety every bit as much as the police and DCNR being able to talk to each other," she said. "If you happen to break a leg up in the Allegheny National Forest, don't rely on your cell phone to be able to call for help."

White said that's absolutely something the state should be addressing.

Secretary of the Administration Naomi Wyatt said the state has been contacting providers for about the last six months and they have been getting "luke warm responses."

"For a cell phone provider, it's a matter of dollars," Wyatt said. "There aren't enough people, unfortunately, in the Allegheny National Forest for them to think it's worth investing the infrastructure on our cell towers."

Wyatt did say that, because the state has the infrastructure (towers) that's available, they should think about how it can be used.

She and White agreed to discussion the issue further.

White/Wyatt Audio

33 comments :

Anonymous said...

A- MAN... with todays tech. there should be no reason you cant go out of your house and make a cell phone call. and have almost full service.

Rep. Chick said...

"For a cell phone provider, it's a matter of dollars,"...

Well what about the cost to the customers? We dish out cell fees for the use of something you CAN NOT USE often enough, toppled with all kinds of taxes and fees including 911! And we are charged these fees per phone and per line!

Is that fair?! NO, but it continues to happen each and every month.

I feel since our state dollars were used to erect these towers (like the one on state route 49 east of Ulysses) our cell phone providers should be MADE to install their service devices!

After all they are all ready charging their customers for the use of their service and are not making it available!

Verizon is making a killing off their customers in our area! We can not use our cell phones unless we leave our area!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! What did you people do twnety years ago!Before cell phones!!! Your lucky you survived such hard times.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to get cell service without driving several miles from my home, but I knew getting in that it wasn't available here and would not be in the foreseeable future...

Is that fair? Who says it is supposed to be fair? Cell phone providers have coverage maps that show approximately where service is and is not available. One should take a glance at those maps before purchasing a service and likely entering into a contract.

To simply say, 'I pay my bill the same as those city folks, so I should get that same service here in the sticks' is unrealistic... Unless of course one wants the the government (our tax $$) to subsidize the wireless providers--more 'pork'.

Hey, on the bright side, maybe they can put some transponders on those wind turbine towers.

Anonymous said...

I was hunting with my son in-law in Cameron County this year. We were on a mountain above Empotium, on state land several miles from a blacktop road. I was very surprised that I not only had sevice, but could talk to my wife in Coudersport with no trouble, anf a very clear connection. And yet there is no service in Shinglehouse? How big of a problem could it be to fix that?

Anonymous said...

I'm a little tired of hearing the complaints about cell service here in Potter County. We gave up our home line because we decided it was a waste of money. We don't have service all over the county but probably the mountains have something to do with that. My husband called me from the middle of Cameron County when he got a deer so I can't say we have too many complaints. We have adjusted to the "black" holes for the advantage of having a phone with us all the time.

Sparky O'Dildine said...

Rep Chick ssaid "I feel since our state dollars were used to erect these towers (like the one on state route 49 east of Ulysses)"

The tower erected just east of Ulysses is not a cell tower, it is a state radio tower. Generally Verizon erects their own towers or leases from other cell companies to put a cell antenna up. A cell tower isn't comprised of just an antenna, there generally needs to be a backhaul to the regular phone lines to provide service. Sometimes a cell repeater antenna can be used, but they are generally directional antennas and don't provide blanket coverage. Cellular signals work closely by "line of sight" which isn't always feasible in our area because of the valleys and will allow service on the hilltops for a long range. The basic issue with cell service range is not with the tower as much as it is with the cell phone transmitter itself which has limited transmit power because of it's size and is battery powered. A cell tower costs at least $75,000 to erect and Verizon wouldn't recoup their investment on a tower that only serves 300 residents and a handful of travellers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, cell towers are ok if you benefit from them but wind turbines are a no, no to all the jealous ones that won't benefit from them. I thought the decliners didn't want to ruin the beautiful Potter County landscape. Get a grip and quit the bitching. By the way, when you bought the cell phone you knew it wouldn't get constant signal, now you are complaining. Like moving on a dirt road and then wanting something done with it!!

Big Steve said...

I think its funny all they people complianing about wind turbine put up around potter county but I didnt see one thing about the cell tower erected right in town of coudersport.

Anonymous said...

To the posts above...cell phone towers dont make noise and will be useable here in potter county.

Anonymous said...

To the post above, one of the main concerns of non believers......LOOKING AT THEM! Wonder how people felt when the started putting up utility poles and then string wire on them?

Anonymous said...

I just have to comment on how every single post not matter what it is about can somehow come back to wind turbines.

joshhatcher said...

I'm headed to a "third world country" in a few days. I think they actually have better cell service!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I just have to comment on how every single post not matter what it is about can somehow come back to wind turbines.


And the embezzelment of the Potter County Fair money. Come on people,70,000 plus dollars!!!! We need to have something done about it. One of these times her name will come out.

Anonymous said...

dont be shy, Bring it out!!

Anonymous said...

The thing I can't understand is why I don't have coverage all the way from Port To Coudy. Its a major highway for petes sake... You always loose the signal about 1 mile from Roulette... Seems to me that for the amount that they pay and the fact they are basically the only ones we can get here in the sticks.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking $70,000 seens a little rediculous consdering the size of the fair. Plus, if it is so why no charges have been pressed or at least an audit.

Anonymous said...

Big Steve! That is exactly what I was thinking! That is UGLY, much rather see a turbine than THAT!!!

Anonymous said...

I think we should have cell phone service that is top rate since it's a matter of our safety. What we had 20 years ago is totally irrelevant...now we can protect ourselves if we have an accident at night or are lost. We will feel safer knowing we can reach our teens in cars. It is essential.
Cell towers vs. wind turbines is such a joke. One or two cell towers vs. hundreds of 500 foot
twirling whirligigs....
Potter County will get use from cell towers...Potter County will not get any electricity, or any rate cut, or any property tax roll back and probably NOT much of anything else from wind turbines.
So...f'get about turbines. Our government is broke but Verizon is not. Please always remember, our
government will be subsidizing
wind power will our tax dollars and it's already overdrawn.

Really? said...

"The tower erected just east of Ulysses is not a cell tower, it is a state radio tower."...

Really?

I read and reread Rep. Chick's post and it does not look to me that she was calling this tower a CELL tower.

I think that is what her post meant, that the tower was put up with state tax money for the use of state agencies and not cell coverage but that Verizon could easily put their equipment on the tower that is all ready there.

Anonymous said...

I don’t have a cell phone, don’t want one and DON’T want to pay Verizon any more on my phone bill so you can drive around with that thing stuck in your ear and not watching where you are going. Nor have to listen to your loud mouths in stores or on the streets wanting everyone to see what you have.

Anonymous said...

ARE YOU SERIOUS???? Move the hell out of the middle of nowhere if you want cell phone service. You should be thankful the providers even entertain the idea of put up a tower to serve a few thousand people. What a JOKE!

Anonymous said...

I saw this posted earlier and I agree...the companies don't have a problem charging all the fees even though the service is hard to find. I have to lean over my sink and stick my head up to the window in my kitchen to be able to get service at my house. Verizon screwed up my cell bill one time and gave me a $800 bill because of over charges. I told them to stuff their home phone and internet service but i had to keep the cell service because they are the only one's in the area. There are towers all over so why don't half of them work and give you service.

Anonymous said...

Here's another thought for ya. Do you really think you'd have any kind of real broadband internet service here if it weren't for this area once being Adelphia Headquarters? The answer is no. None of the current cable providers would touch the area for the same reasons that Verizon or other Cell providers won't. It'll never happen. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the population is not here in the rural counties to support towers for cell service, however, Potter, McKean and Warren counties, and probably others along the Northern Tier, experiences an influx of people during all 4 season of the year.

Camps open up, some for just coming and relaxing, some for hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, outdoor camping, star gazing, so why don't our numbers reflect this in obtaining towers?

I hope that the Warren County rep considers all of this info in her meeting and hope that Rep Causer will join her in this effort for more cell towers in our area.

Thanks for allowing our freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

I recall going to a meeting at the Smethport High School with one of the state representatives several years ago. While he answered questions he wanted to get some info so he told his aide to place a call to a certain agency. It was funny because once on the line the aide tried to get him to take the call but the representative was surprised to find that he had to stand in a certain spot in the room so he didn't lose service. At that point I thought welcome to our world. I thought the representative would have been an advocate for cell service in rural areas after that.

Anonymous said...

"cell phone towers dont make noise and will be useable here in potter county."...maybe not but aren't there lights on them? Ya know with the dark skies and all...

Anonymous said...

"And the embezzelment of the Potter County Fair money. Come on people,70,000 plus dollars!!!! "


Is the District Attorney aware of this?

Anonymous said...

doesn't matter whether they make noise. they are regulated by the county as the turbines are. with the county regs can one be sited in the county? can they get a permit that could site one within the county regs?

good ? about the fair money.
didn't know anything about that but will be watching stimulus money.

Anonymous said...

Show me a local area where access to clean water is a problem, and THEN I'll agree that the comparison to a "third-world country" is less than absurd. Every improvement in technology gives people more excuses to complain about things that really aren't that bad. Yeah, it's an inconvenience. We deal with it. We're fine.
And b.t.w., there IS service in Shinglehouse - if you walk around the Uni-Mart parking lot long enough you'll find it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a few have not a clue what a third world country is...

Anonymous said...

"Camps open up, some for just coming and relaxing, some for hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, outdoor camping, star gazing, so why don't our numbers reflect this in obtaining towers?"

Are you kidding when you go to your "Camp" to "relax" and get alway from everything the last thing you want is your cell phone to work. That is the whole reason for having a camp in a place like Potter County so please don't ruin that.

Anonymous said...

WHY ISN'T ANYBODY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THE $70,000 EMBEZZELED FROM THE POTTER COUNTY FAIR? AND, WHY CAN'T YOU MENTION HER NAME. JUST ONE MORE PIECE OF DIRT SWEPT UNDER THE TABLE. SUCKS!