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November 27, 2018

Cell phone projects expected to reduce ‘dead spots’ in Stonington area

A major expansion is in the works to provide cell phone service in Stonington.

Town Manager Kathleen Billings told the Ellsworth American that AT&T and U.S. Cellular are erecting cell phone towers there.

Cell phone coverage was a subject in June on the AT&T community web forum: "Is anyone else having bad service in the Downeast Maine area?" a contributor asked. "Especially Brooklin, Blue Hill, Surry, Ellsworth, South Blue Hill, Deer Isle, & Stonington, ME?" Another contributor replied, "Yes. Reception in general on Deer Isle is horrible at best" and cited "dead spots and poor reception spots on the island."

In 2012, Billings told the Bangor Daily News that there had been a vast improvement in areas of Stonington that sit on higher ground since a U.S. Cellular tower in Sunset came online earlier that winter. But most of the shops, restaurants, inns and other businesses are located downhill in the downtown area, she said.

The town's 2018 comprehensive plan identifies cell service as "poor or non-existent" in many parts of the town and identifies enhanced telecommunications capabilities as a top priority.

"Given the essential need for most businesses to have a high-speed internet connection and reliable fast cell phone service, the town needs to improve that capability in many parts of towns in order to create diversified economic opportunities," according to the comprehensive plan.

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