Vermont Residents May Loose Rural Cell Coverage

CellTowerthumbVERMONT- Cell phone communication may become harder to access for Vermont residents in rural areas.

Coverage Co, a company aimed to solving the challenge of rural cell coverage, had contracted with the Vermont Telecommunications Authority to build small cell wireless antennas along state roadways. 160 of the antennas were made and the business model did not work as planned. The company did attempt to sell to a buyer but the first but fell through.

 Clay Purvis, Director of Telecommunications at the Department of Public Service says, "The idea was that they would they would provide wholesale service to other wireless companies. So other wireless companies would roam on Coverage Co.'s network." Some of those networks being Verizon Wireless as the biggest customer, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular.

The Department of Public Service was informed last week that the company would cease operations. "It's not certain but it is something that would likely happen. And we felt this was important to start informing communities that this was going to happen."

If a new buyer doesn't come forward, the towers will eventually stop working. But Purvis says they aren't much of a loss for people. "These things they have a range of about a quarter a mile to half a mile depending on geography. If we were in Nebraska, they would probably go over half a mile but in Vermont we have lots of mountains and hills. These things can't penetrate ledge." Because they required to be self-supported and need their own electricity and internet, back-hole means they aren't connected in anyway.