Red Deer City Council should get involved to help improve cellphone reception in east-central neighborhoods, councilor says

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Com. Lawrence Lee wants the Red Deer City Council to jump into the fray to help east-central residents get better cellphone reception from telecom providers.

It is absolutely unacceptable that large swaths of Alberta’s third-largest city have inconsistent and unreliable cellphone service, Lee said during a break in Monday’s city council meeting.

Dozens of Red Deerians have complained to Lee about chronically poor reception at Clearview, Clearview Ridge, Garden Heights, Timberlands and Timberstone. “I’ve had over 50 complaints (via) phone calls, emails, meeting people on the streets, in stores, everything,” he said.

Many of those affected residents have sent letters directly to their telecommunications asking for better service. Lee said he and other individual councilors also called to complain on behalf of Red Deer residents.

The standard response is for providers to work on it or wait for federal approvals for new cell towers, Lee said. But he noted that several deadlines set by these private companies for service improvements have passed, to no avail.

“I just want to see what the obstacles are” and how they can finally be resolved, Lee said.

He presented a notice of motion at Monday’s city council meeting, asking council to send a formal letter to telecom providers expressing the city government’s concern and impatience with poor service.

He says cell phone service is vital community infrastructure, similar to roads and other utilities, so having stable and reliable service is a necessity for Red Deer residents, especially to access emergency services.

Many neighborhoods in east central Red Deer have been developed for more than a decade without having adequate cell phone coverage, Lee said. He wants the mayor and council’s office to “contact in writing” telecommunications providers, making them aware of the urgent need to improve cell phone service within the city limits.

He also wants city administrators to bring back to council a planning process for future neighborhoods to ensure they will have adequate telecommunications service for residents.

Lee noted that the new Evergreen neighborhood is now being planned just north of the affected areas. He wouldn’t want new homes being built in areas where cell phone service is a problem.

Lee’s notice of motion was read by Lee on Monday, but will be discussed by city council on August 29.


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