Monday, 13 January 2020 15:32

AcceleratePA targets Monroe’s dead cell zones

The coalition that successfully sought gigabit-speed internet in Monroe County has turned its attention to dead cell zones.

It’s an issue audience members would mention at meetings about the Monroe Gigabit Project, said Kelly Lewis, president of Lewis Strategic. They would praise faster internet, but ask when poor or nonexistent cell service at their home or elsewhere would improve.

Lewis Strategic, Dellicker Strategies and Business Information Group form the AcceleratePA coalition. The private sector effort brought gigabit-speed internet, which transfers information at a rate of a billion bits per second, to Monroe County in 2017.

“Cell service is hard to do, especially in a county that has so many hills and valleys,” Lewis said.

But it can be life or death, as the vast majority of 911 calls are made from cell phones.

Picture it: “You’re on a side road and you have an accident, and no car saw you go off the road. You’re sitting there and you can’t use your cell phone. You can’t even call your family, you can’t call 911,” Lewis said.

The dead zones aren’t limited to “the middle of the furthest thing,” he said. “Some places are pretty close to town.”

Cell coverage isn’t just key to emergency services.

“We’re 70 miles from Manhattan. We’re on Route 80, one of the busiest roads in the country,” Lewis noted. Tourists and the transportation industry are “expecting superior cell service.”

The Monroe County Dead Cell Zone Project survey conducted in the fall garnered responses about numerous problem areas, some as specific as a street address or the small borough of Delaware Water Gap, others as broad as all of Barrett Township.

“We drove around the county to actually look at some of the identified areas, because some were pretty broad,” Lewis said. It turned out Barrett Township did have “a lot of areas without cell service.”

Meetings about the project should be announced soon. Lewis is focused on two areas right now: putting political pressure on the cellular industry, and asking local governments to identify spots that might make good cell tower sites.

The list of dead zones has been shared with state legislators and the cellular industry, and Lewis, a former state representative, wants legislators to push the industry for solutions to dead zones. In turn, citizens can urge their legislators to work on the issue.

“The industry is sensitive to the political process,” Lewis said. It wants a bill passed regarding the “deployment strategy” of 5G, the latest generation of wireless technology.

He’s expecting the Super Bowl to be “dominated by 5G commercials,” even as rural areas are still seeking basic cell coverage.

As for identifying potential tower locations, Lewis said it’s “a great home run” when an organization like a volunteer fire department offers space and gets revenue in return.

″$12,000 a year is a lot of hoagie sales,” he said.



Disclaimer: The ideas expressed below are the personal thoughts and opinions of Nate Covington and do not necessarily reflect the position of Barrett Township or the Board of Auditors.


Follow me on Twitter:

Add comment

Latest Comments

Call for Donations

We rely on donations to keep this site ad-free. Will you give today?

Are you ready?


Prepare for a disaster in 3 easy steps:
In an emergency, knowing what to do is your best defense. Start now by learning the risks, making an emergency plan and getting involved to help others.
[Read More at]

You may also be interested in joining our Local Community Watch

Are you drinking clean water?
If you're not sure, get your water tested by a local, accredited lab.



Support Local Businesses!

  • Little Green Bookshop
    Little Green Bookshop The Little Green Bookshop, a non-profit organization located at 1233 Rt. 390 in Mountainhome, sells new and used books, offers a variety of educational and…
  • EI Home Weekender
    EI Home Weekender Open weekends or by appointment!
  • Camp Canadensis
    Camp Canadensis At Canadensis, our goal is to create an environment that is emotionally, physically and socially safe for campers and their parents in a first-rate facility.…
  • Mountainhome Bowling Center
    Mountainhome Bowling Center 5th Annual Holiday Mixed-Up No-Tap Doubles Tournament - December and January  - guaranteed prize fund of at least $3000!  Call for info.