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Monday, July 30, 2007

New Wireless 911 System Won't Expand Coverage

By James Jones

On June 22, radio station WFRM posted the following news on their web site:

During their meeting yesterday, the Potter County Commissioners approved a $4.2 million agreement between the County and Motorola to provide the equipment, system, and optimization services for a new Microwave System Infrastructure for the 911 Wireless program.

The program is fully funded through the state 911 Wireless Program.

Chairman Ken Wingo told WFRM that members of the statewide committee from Philadelphia and Delaware Counties pushed hard for Potter County to get the funding because they realize many of their residents vacation here and they want them to be able to access 911 anywhere.

In an interview today with Potter County Emergency Services Director John Hetrick to find out what this new $7,300,000.00 radio system would bring to Potter and Tioga Counties, I was impressed that it would allow the 911 center to locate a wireless caller or a wireless lap top computer within 200 feet, bringing the very latest technology to their fingertips.

"But.....John stressed.....only if you have access to a wireless phone tower operated by one of the commercial wireless phone companies like Verizon, Nextel, Att, and others." "The new system will not expand coverage beyond that offered by the commercial carriers." He said one of the wireless companies had surveyed Potter County for complete coverage and reported that it would take 41 towers to give seamless coverage to the entire county. Thats one tower for every 400 residents of Potter County. And that's not likely to be a profitable investment.

So, sorry to dissapoint our friends from Philadelphia and Delaware Counties, but when you are in the backwoods of Potter and Tioga Counties, and get lost, you better bone up on your Boy Scout skills to find your way out, because wireless coverage countywide probably isn't going to happen in this lifetime.

Residents should continue to push the wireless phone companies to add additional towers at least in the major populated areas and across major highways in the two counties.

Wireless 911 will work great, but only where it works!

6 comments :

Anonymous said...

John Hetrick...Good job on the money...Nice we can't use it because we do not have wireless coverage in 90% of the county....So what are you going to purpose in the situation....

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim for asking the person who really knows. It has been a known fact that it's not financially feasible to extend wireless coverage to ALL of Potter County. Anybody with half a brain can figure this out. Just look at a topo map and the various areas that are crying for high speed internet service. Just keep on wasting the taxpayer's money by paying for studies! If some of these people only had a brain!

Anonymous said...

As always only part of the story..
The upgrade to the radio system is mainly to update and antiquated 911 dispatch system, not cater to wireless phone customers. Wireless telephones and seemless coverage will likely never exist in any of our lifetimes in this area. It is great that the county will be ahead of the times on communications equipment.

Mr Negative said...

"So what are you going to purpose in the situation"

What option is there? Verizon is not going to put in cell towers to support a handfull of people....especially with money as tight as it is. People will just have to deal with emergencies tha way that we have been for years....get to a land line phoen or oput the person in a car and take them to the hospital yourself.

Anonymous said...

Case and point to the above. Whether the commissioners use taxpayers money to STUDY the crap out of something that is financially impossible, or throw the money out the window, it just ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

Don't left in the dark...Cell service isn't gonna get better...From what I see the radio shouldn't get any better only how they send the information....