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Voices / Letters from readers

Lack of cell service: from merely annoying to downright dangerous

Editor’s note: Owing to a production error, this letter as published in the March 6 issue was attributed to the wrong contributor.

RE: “On the broadbandwagon” [Column, Feb. 20]:

I read with great interest Deborah Luskin’s commentary about the woeful lack of high-speed internet and reliable cell service in our state.

We want to lure out of state workers with a cash incentive, only to offer them an electronic version of the old Vermont saying “You can’t get there from here.”

I suppose they could gaze out the window and admire the natural beauty of our state while waiting for slow connections to work. That might be pleasant to do, but not very practical if you need to make a living on your computer at home.

Let’s hope these individuals don’t need to make or take an important business phone call on the road, either. Oh, my phone might make the tiniest ping for a second, but in practical terms I can drive all the way up Route 30 from Brattleboro to get to my home in Dummerston, and there is no cell service at all. Nada.

This is not a back dirt road in the woods but a busy, heavily traveled road. If I continue north into Newfane and Townshend, I won’t have any luck, either. The microcells installed by CoverageCo on telephone poles are out of service, as the company ran into financial difficulties.

Lack of service can range from merely annoying to downright dangerous if police, fire, and or rescue services are needed. I have no service at home and can use my phone there only due to the fact that it is wifi-enabled.

We have friends from out of state who own a camp next door. My friend tried to call her husband because their son was stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire.

She assumed his phone was off because she couldn’t reach him. She tried to reach me as well, but I was in an area without service.

When she finally got a hold of me, she asked what phone carrier we had — it is the same as hers. That makes no difference if there are so many places where your phone doesn’t work. Thank goodness it wasn’t a life-threatening situation.

We need another Vanu Bose. The son of the founder of Bose Corporation made it his mission to provide cell service at low cost to remote, rural areas. Unfortunately, his untimely death at the age of 52 seems to have halted this work.

So it seems we are stuck plodding along at horse-and-buggy speed — at least for the time being.

Betsy Cox
Dummerston

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Originally published in The Commons issue #501 (Wednesday, March 13, 2019). This story appeared on page D3.

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