AT&T acquisition could boost local service
Recent news that AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA within the next year could be good for local AT&T subscribers, as representatives of the cellphone company say the buy-out will improve 2G, 3G and eventually, 4G service throughout the state. The service improvement process will be expedited, AT&T reps say, by the fact that T-Mobile operates on a similar system, allowing AT&T to begin using existing T-Mobile cell sites, including a tower at Beaver Run in Breckenridge. “At the end of the day, this is really just going to be good for customers,” AT&T spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg said. “It’s going to improve service, enhance long-term evolution (LTE) and (allow) more efficient use of the wireless spectrum.”The acquisition, which is expected to be complete in a year’s time, will bring LTE, essentially 4G, service to approximately 46 million more AT&T customers nation wide, growing the networks reach from 80 to 95 percent of the U.S. population. It’s good news for local AT&T cellphone users who consistently experience service gaps in various parts of the county, though nearly every major network has a noted local “dead zone.”For AT&T the drive from Frisco to Farmer’s Korner is patchy at best. The Summit Daily News has also heard complaints about the network’s service in Frisco as well as on the mountain at Breckenridge and Keystone, particularly at peak times. Ten Mile Canyon and Summit Cove seem to be dead zones for multiple service providers and Verizon customers say coverage is also bad between the Summit Medical Center and the County Commons. Service through the Interstate 70 mountain corridor to Denver is also bad for AT&T customers, though it is unclear whether the T-Mobile acquisition will improve it.
As rural cellphone service in the region slowly improves, locals still paying for a home phone, or landline, may consider discontinuing the service. But concerns abound as to the reliability of cellphones in emergency situations. County emergency manager, Joel Cochran said the county’s phone-based messaging system, which is similar to Reverse 911, does not work for cellphones, because technology allowing emergency agencies to harness cellphone towers to access users is not yet available. However, statistics show that radio and television broadcasting, not phone-based messaging, are the most effective ways of reaching people in an emergency. The county also has the ability to reach out to cellphone users registered with the SC Alert system. “Everyone should know the variety of ways we have to communicate with the public,” Cochran said. “Citizen text messaging is just one. (People) should own an FM radio, not just satellite, because we will use local broadcasters.”Register to receive SC alerts by text message or email at http://www.co.summit.co.us.
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