STAMPING GROUND — Rural residents are used to having things just a little more difficult; hard water, longer trips to town and a lack of neighbors to help with just about anything. These folks are generally happy to trade these inconveniences for the peace and privacy that comes with living out of town. What is not tolerable is bad internet and weak cell service.

A veteran and new resident of Stamping Ground recently complained he had better cell service talking with his wife from Afghanistan to Virginia than he does trying to talk from one side of his property to another. 

The search for reliable service continues and last week, AT&T announced a new communications tower that will help some residents of northern Scott County receive better connectivity for their internet and cell service. 

The additional tower, located along Coppage Road, joins a chain of towers across the country helping to eliminate dead zone areas, or areas of coverage where cell service does not exist. The quality of a connection will be affected by how far a customer is from a cell tower, obstructions that may exist between the home and tower and how many others are utilizing the same tower.

“Technology infrastructure is an integral part of our community being economically competitive,” said Scott County Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington. “Access to broadband internet is vital and this ‘last mile’ solution ensures our families and businesses have the connections they need.”

District 62 State Rep. Phillip Pratt said hopefully the new tower will help some residents. 

“The new cell tower will enhance 4G LTE coverage, and give residents more reliable wireless service. As Scott County continues to grow, we must ensure that people are moving to an area that has proper internet and broadband access,” said Pratt. “This is a big factor when people are deciding where to live and raise their family, and it is also a factor for businesses when they are deciding where to locate.

“We want Scott County to continue our upward trend of economic development, and that only happens with projects such as this.”

A strong connection is what is required to utilize the internet for quick communications, the kind needed to work from home, for example. It is also necessary to download live-stream movies from providers like Netflix and is typically one of the first services to malfunction with a weak internet connection. A weak connection will still allow a customer to check emails and even operate a search engine like Google albeit at slower speeds. However trying to perform a live-stream requires faster speeds and higher frequencies and its failure results in “buffering,” a word that indicates the system is struggling to perform the streaming task. It’s one of the major complaints voiced by rural residents. 

Joseph Burgan, AT&T communications executive, said the new tower capabilities will help. 

 “The new tower expands AT&T’s mobile network and gives more families and small businesses access to the Internet via our fixed-wireless Internet service,” said Burgan.” This service provides download speeds of at least 10 Mbps which makes working from home or streaming your favorite show even easier.” 

These upgrades will also benefit public safety and first responders on FirstNet — public safety’s communications platform, according to the AT&T announcement. FirstNet is designed to help first responders connect to the information they need, when they need it, so they can keep the communities they serve safer. 

 

Jackie Anders can be reached at janders@news-graphic.com.

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