EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 11, 2013

Cell service remains spotty in Southern N.H.

Consumers, providers have differing views

Melanie Davidson can often be seen by the window of her Derry living room. But she isn’t just admiring her yard. She has to be there. It is the only place in her home that she can get service on her cellphone to make work-related calls.

“I’d be better off working from the library,” she said. “It’s extremely frustrating.”

She’s not alone.

Many Southern New Hampshire residents and officials are frustrated by the lack of cellphone reception when traveling around the region or inside their own homes.

“There’s no Verizon service (at my home) in Hampstead, near the Atkinson border,” Cathleen Drivas said in a Facebook post. “It drove the parents crazy that they couldn’t reach their kids on the phone.”

Derry resident Kim Vareschi said she often loses calls while at home.

“Some parts of the house and yard are very strong, others drop calls,” she said on Facebook. “No walking and talking around my house.”

Others have problems when they are traveling.

“Service is very spotty in rural or suburban areas such as East Derry, Windham or Atkinson,” Treva Cassidy of Derry said on Facebook.

But it’s not just residents using cellphones having issues.

Atkinson fire Chief Michael Murphy said the lack of service in the area can impede firefighters during calls.

“It’s deficient in the area,” he said. “In low-lying areas, it can be a safety issue. I’m not sure if we need a new cell tower or existing infrastructure, but something needs to be done.”

Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said emergency communications is something his town is focused on, too.

“We’re actively looking at ways we can improve service because it’s a safety issue and for customer service,” he said. “Everyone is on a cellphone now, so we want them to be connected.”

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