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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Need people to call AT&T

I've inquired five times of technicians from AT&T about reduced and unavailable cell phone coverage in the North Fayston area during the last two weeks. I have historically received an average two bars of service from the original tower at Mount Ellen seven miles away, first through Cingular, then Unicel, and AT&T until two weeks ago. Neighbors at higher elevations nearby have received four and five bar service until two weeks ago. What I've learned is:

- There are now three 2G towers in The Valley: top of Mount Ellen, MRG Birdland lodge at approx. 2,100 feet, and one mile east of Route 100/17 (I've heard Kenyon's). I do not know whether additional towers may have contributed to my/our service.


- New facilities installed at each location were installed without downtilt. Problem was supposed to be corrected by September 30; unclear to technician if work complete. Description implied that the signal may be going over our heads; I did not have faith that downtilt would help the signal reach me any better over the hills in between.

- A 3G tower is currently being installed at Mount Ellen and may be the cause of the disruption in 2G service, to be complete October 15.

 - No technician has been able to answer if the power output has been reduced from the original tower nor what other problem may have changed reliability two weeks ago.

 - A new 3G tower will be installed within a couple hundred yards of the end of Sugarbush Access Road, implying at the base. Perhaps Sugarbush is paying for this?
We need your help. The technician said it was okay to give out the direct tech support phone number, 866-246-7344. Please call. We don't want to get credits for poor service nor have to give up our cell phones; we want good service. We also want new service to reach more pockets of lowlands (dead zones) in The Valley such as the backsides of Bragg into Center Fayston, perhaps even the backside of the main ridge for travel west on Route 17. Perhaps Sugarbush, the Chamber, and/or town governments can comment as to whether they have any influence on where additional services are sited. Siting higher to serve a wider audience seems logical; the reach is at least seven miles.

Darlene McCormick lives in Fayston.


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