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

(Continued)

Fitzgerald said high terrain on Sweet Hill Road and Mount Misery off North Main Street are two potential locations for new towers.

Providers work to improve service

There are people actively trying to improve the coverage. James George is a consultant with Global Tower Partners, the largest privately owned tower company in the U.S.

He has met with numerous town officials in an effort to bring more cell towers to Southern New Hampshire.

“The cell service in Rockingham County needs to be improved,” he said. “There are an awful lot of places that aren’t covered very well.”

George said he’s primarily looking at Atkinson, Plaistow, Danville, Sandown and Newton as areas he would like to see get a new tower.

“There is a lack of coverage, especially in the center of those towns,” he said. “I’m looking at elevated positions in those towns that could possibly work for this infrastructure.”

Other areas, including Salem, Windham, Derry and Londonderry, have much better service, according to George.

“It’s because I-93 goes right through there,” he said. “It’s a high-volume area, so the carriers focus on it.”

It’s not just cell tower developers who are exploring coverage gaps.

The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension launched an expansive project last summer.

“We drove every numbered route in New Hampshire during a four- to six-week period,” said Fay Rubin, a project director for UNH Cooperative Extension. “We had a bank of five cellphones from five different carriers and collected signal datas.”

Michael Blair, a program coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension, said US Cellular, AT&T and Sprint ranked as the best providers. But he said Rockingham County’s coverage was sufficient.

“There appears to be pretty good coverage in the county among all providers,” he said. “It’s flat, which helps get a better signal.”

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