Examining cell service in rural NY communities

News

BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 16: A visitor tries out an Apple iPhone 7 on the first day of sales of the new phone at the Berlin Apple store on September 16, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The new phone comes in two sizes, one with a 4.7 inch display, the other with a 5.5 inch display. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A New York State task force has been created to look into the issue of cell service Upstate.

Having a cellphone reception can be critical in times of emergency. 

“I can’t tell you how many times you hear about people not being able to make an emergency call, a call that is something where you need medical assistance, or the fire department, whatever the case may be, you need to contact the police and you happen to be in an area where you have no coverage,” said Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara.

Governor Cuomo announced that a new group has been created to delve into these issues. Assemblyman Santabarbara says they are looking at where to fill gaps in coverage and exploring new technology, especially in rural areas.

“We’re looking at what’s called macro-towers and small cells, little nodes that you macro-towers and smaller. And you can place more of them and get better coverage. They sort of connect into the system,” Santabarbara said.

In Schenectady, he says smart street lights have a lot of the infrastructure built-in. He says technology like this can feed off of larger towers and not be as intrusive. 

“That’s what this technology is about. They’re smaller. they’re adaptable to the environment,” Santabarbara said.

Santabarbara says the task force will come up with a report before the next legislative session aimed at tackling the issue. 

The state legislature will also hold a public hearing next week on the issue of broadband access in rural areas. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.