Better Cell Service to remote areas of Newfoundland and Labrador
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Coming from a rural community, I see the many problems that rural communities such as Burgeo, located on the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland as well as Trout River, on the West Coast face, being somewhat isolated. Not to mention the countless many others located throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. As a traveller, with friends families in both of the communities I have mentioned, it worries me that with all the modern technology of today, there are still areas without cell service. I can point out immediate incedents that occurred between December 20th and 28th, 2017 that could have used that service to make things faster as well as less hardship and worry.
On December 20th, a tractor trailer travelling to Burgeo via Route 480, overturned about 30 minutes from the town. With no cell service to contact emergency crews for his own safety as well as that the environment, he had to rely on a passer by to get him to cell service to make the call. Thankfully, he narrowly escaped (as this Facebook photo from Greg Janes would clearly indicate).
Not to mention the hundreds of cabin owners scattered along Route 480 would could avail of the service.
A second incident occurred on the 28th of December, in the Bonne Bay area of the West Coast, when a resident was enjoying his Christmas at his cabin, where it is not as remote as you would think, rather home to many but with limited cell service. Almost a step back in time where you have to position your phone in a precise location, otherwise, no service.
Well, on the 28th, a resident was feeling some chest pain, in the comfort of his cabin, a mere kilometer from the main highway, (still no service area however). Before he had the opportunity to get to medical care, he relied on the kindness of neighbours to come together to get him the help he needed. A close friend called on the ambulance, giving them directions to the location, explaining the difficulty, as well as the fact that they (the neighbours) would have to wait in a parking lot for the ambulance as there would be no further phone service to communicate.
The man made it to the hospital safely, after a group of individuals came together to get him out, including getting the ambulance unstuck after arriving in a snow covered lot in a 2 wheel drive ambulance on a Newfoundland winter night.
Locals and truck drivers alike who make these drives on a regular basis take their chances. Many do not make the drive at all in winter, for fear of being isolated or stuck without anyone able to find them. As a few years ago, when another resident of the Burgeo area can relate after being stranded for a few days in winter, with no communication, hoping that someone would eventually find them.
I think with the technology that exists today, surely it must be possible to erect a few more towers to accommodate. I am no engineer or tech expert and I am certain "it's not as easy as..." , but certainly if more of us speak out, someone will have to listen.
Please sign and pass it on in support..let's make this happen.
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