NOREEN: City's cell phone 'holes' being addressed

BARRY NOREEN Updated: December 14, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 14, 2012

Do you sometimes have trouble getting a cell phone signal?

Reader Nelson Hall  said there is “poor to non-existent cell phone coverage along the entire west side of Colorado Springs....It would have been very helpful to Mountain Shadows homeowners during the Waldo Canyon fire to be able to send and receive calls.”

Hall also said he had heard a rumor that City Hall has blocked the addition of cell phone towers in the past.

First, it is true there is spotty cell signal coverage in parts of the west side, according to many readers who responded to my Facebook query. It’s all about topography — high spots get in the way and low spots get spotty coverage.

Reader Sheila Anderson wrote, “Dead zone in area of Centennial and Vindicator” and reader Donny Richert said: “Lots of pockets of poor service around Coronado High School.”

Reader Stephanie Weber wrote, “I’ve got AT&T and it doesn’t work near Rock Ledge Ranch and North Pleasant Valley area or in my home. Had to sign up for a land line.”

In other areas in town, including the Briargate, near Palmer Park and along stretches of Powers Boulevard, there are areas with spotty signals.

City spokeswoman Cindy Aubrey, echoing what some respondents said online, acknowledged that “probably the worst was around Holmes (Middle School) and Coronado (High School) during the fire.”

The schools were used as the command posts for the fire and the spotty service hampered communications.

As for the city trying to block construction of new cell phone towers, City Council President Scott Hente said, “I never heard that one.”

Hente, incidentally, also lives in Mountain Shadows and reports his cell service is poor. Aubrey lives near the intersection of Chelton Road and Maizeland Road, an area affected by Palmer Park.

Jesse James, the interim information technology director for the city, said any rumor that the city has been obstructing better cell phone service “couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

The bad news for a city that wants to be seen as tech-savvy is that Colorado Springs rates only a ‘B’ for cell phone coverage by industry standards, James said.

The good news is that help is on the way, and “we’re very interested in improving coverage,” he added.

James said the city has contracted with Mobile Pulse, a firm researching where the bad spots are, so eventually, locations for new signal towers can be determined. He said that study should be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at 719-636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com

 

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