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Small Town Continues To Push For Cell Service


JossMan
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Pretty interesting article I found yesterday in my local news, when you have cell service you don't really think about the people that can't access it like these folks in Sugar Grove, VA.  Sugar Grove is a small town of about 1,000 people, its about 40-45 miles from my home town of Bristol.  Maybe Sprint/Shentel can help these folks out if they can get a tower constructed. 

 

ARTICLE ------->  Town Continues To Push For Cellular Service

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Pretty interesting article I found yesterday in my local news, when you have cell service you don't really think about the people that can't access it like these folks in Sugar Grove, VA.  Sugar Grove is a small town of about 1,000 people, its about 40-45 miles from my home town of Bristol.  Maybe Sprint/Shentel can help these folks out if they can get a tower constructed. 

 

ARTICLE ------->  Town Continues To Push For Cellular Service

 

I never really imagined a world without cellular service. That's kind of weird. I guess people know how old (or young) I am now.

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I never really imagined a world without cellular service. That's kind of weird. I guess people know how old (or young) I am now.

I remember here in my home town of Bristol there was only one or two cell towers in the middle of town (still there today/in service).

Towards the end of the 90s (97-99) cell tower construction exploded and they were popping up everywhere, today there are about 15 or so just within the city limits.  

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The two Cellular 850 MHz licensees of record for that portion of CMA682 that includes Sugar Grove are USCC and VZW.  But neither network actually serves Sugar Grove.  Since Cellular 850 MHz licensing is geographic area based, Sugar Grove should be what is classified as Cellular Unserved Area.  This means that any qualified party can file an application with the FCC to provide service to that area.  If granted, then USCC and/or VZW permanently lose right to the affected Cellular 850 MHz spectrum in that unserved area, and the qualified party is then able to use that spectrum to serve the area.

 

AJ

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It seems like Sprint has service along the I-81 which is near the town mentioned in the article. However, aren't mountainous regions difficult to service with signal? I'm curious on this matter. 

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Sprint has 3 towers in the entire county and all are 1x. My hometown is just north of the Grove (Marion) and I grew up between the two. I barely get a bar out in the back yard of my parents, but they have Verizon service. They have no issue getting several bars of LTE indoors when I'm visiting. Ugh...

 

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It seems like Sprint has service along the I-81 which is near the town mentioned in the article. However, aren't mountainous regions difficult to service with signal? I'm curious on this matter. 

Yes there are sites along the I-81 corridor that Sprint has but 1900 PCS isn't going to reach the little town of Sugar Grove, VA from I-81.  Difficult...no, a challenge...yes its all about where these sites are placed where they can't get the maximum coverage within a particular area.  I have been in contact with the woman that has been trying to get cellular service for the area for 10 years, I am trying to help point her in the right direction or at least write a grant to the Dept. of Commerce on getting a tower constructed. No one wants to spend the money to construct a cell site then buy the equipment that will only serve less than 1,000 people.   

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So it sounds like crown castle or whatever cell tower company will bulid the tower for company if someones would sign on to it. Also they could just put the antenna up on buliding in town, or maybe use 800 from exisiting tower. I am sure there is a way, and again if I was sprint I would totally do it. You know that if you sign up 40 percent of the town, that is 400 people on 50 dollar plan comes out to 20,000 a month. Not a big money maker, but at least it would cover costs. Also would totally get the rights from verizon for the 850, how cool would it be to rub it in big red face. That also is worth it in my eyes :rasp:

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Sprint would do well to partner with an affiliate regional carrier here. The challenge is figuring out how many of the 1000 odd residents will actually sign up for service? And is there a sufficient backhaul provider serving the area? Signing up 150 residents in the middle of nowhere isnt going to catch sprint any love.

 

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Yes there are sites along the I-81 corridor that Sprint has but 1900 PCS isn't going to reach the little town of Sugar Grove, VA from I-81.

 

The issue is not really PCS 1900 MHz.  The issue is the mountain that is between the I-81 corridor and Sugar Grove.  Even USCC and VZW Cellular 850 MHz sites along the Interstate do nothing for Sugar Grove because of the geographic obstacle in the way.  So, the best solution would probably be for USCC or VZW to locate a Cellular 850 MHz new site near Sugar Grove on that side of the mountain. Handoff back to the Marion side would then occur at the top of the mountain.  Sprint might be able to accomplish the same with PCS 1900 MHz, but it would be more tenuous in that terrain.  SMR 800 MHz would be much better, but it would need to be deployed on both sides of the mountain.  Otherwise, the inter frequency hard handoff would be a really difficult one.

 

AJ

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Also would totally get the rights from verizon for the 850, how cool would it be to rub it in big red face. That also is worth it in my eyes :rasp:

 

You misunderstand Phase 2 of Cellular 850 MHz licensing.  Cellular Unserved Area applies only to the affected Celluar 850 MHz license, not to other spectrum licenses.  If Sprint were to take on this project, it would use its own PCS 1900 MHz and/or SMR 800 MHz spectrum licenses.  USCC's and VZW's licenses would remain unchanged.

 

AJ

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Funny you mention US Cellular because they just put up a site on the opposite side of the mountain facing away from Sugar Grove which didn't make any sense.  The woman I spoke to that has been trying to get a tower constructed there said that cellular 850 reaches down Sugar Grove Hwy. just 2 miles before the town of Sugar Grove then there isn't service.  

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Funny you mention US Cellular because they just put up a site on the opposite side of the mountain facing away from Sugar Grove which didn't make any sense.  The woman I spoke to that has been trying to get a tower constructed there said that cellular 850 reaches down Sugar Grove Hwy. just 2 miles before the town of Sugar Grove then there isn't service.  

 

Well, before I would fully believe that, I would want more info.  Most sites are either two or three sector.  To be truly "facing away from Sugar Grove," the site would need to be single sector.  And that would be odd.

 

AJ

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You misunderstand Phase 2 of Cellular 850 MHz licensing.  Cellular Unserved Area applies only to the affected Celluar 850 MHz license, not to other spectrum licenses.  If Sprint were to take on this project, it would use its own PCS 1900 MHz and/or SMR 800 MHz spectrum licenses.  USCC's and VZW's licenses would remain unchanged.

 

AJ

Yea I understand, it was just wishful thinking that sprint could take something from big red.

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Well, before I would fully believe that, I would want more info.  Most sites are either two or three sector.  To be truly "facing away from Sugar Grove," the site would need to be single sector.  And that would be odd.

 

AJ

AJ, on November 1, 2013 a cell site was turned on in Western Grayson County, VA which provides service all they way to Troutdale, VA which is approximately 8 miles from Sugar Grove, VA.  The 8 miles between Troutdale, VA and Sugar Grove are hilly meaning there is no way service would reach Sugar Grove.  And yes Troutdale, VA has a whopping 194 residents, I personally don't know the area well but why USCC decided to throw up a site there is beyond me.  When I say facing away the site is on the Southern end of Troutdale, more than likely one sector serving Troutdale, another sector facing Troutdale Hwy. and the last sector facing Highlands Parkway being in the 800MHz band this goes pretty far...except...north towards Sugar Grove due to the mountains and hills.   In order for Sugar Grove to get service they would need to throw up a site on the northern side of Troutdale and face two sectors down towards Sugar Grove and the last sector towards the mountainous road coming into Sugar Grove from the South.  

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  • 2 months later...

I saw this topic and wanted to provide some information about our community and current lack of service.

Relevant to the information that's already stated in this forum thread, Troutdale is located approximately 8 miles from Sugar Grove on the other side of a mountain. The tower that was recently turned on at Volney reaches almost to the Grayson/Smyth County line at the top of the mountain. Only US Cellular customers can get service from this tower. After several months of research, it seems that a need to expand communications along the route from River North Prison to the Marion Correctional facility was the initial reason for the placement of this tower. On the other end of things in Smyth County however, there seems to have been some sort of lack of communication on this front. It seems that back in 2007 both Smyth and Grayson counties were working together to establish cellular service. Somewhere along 2011 or 2012 the two counties ceased to work together. Grayson County established a cellular tower that covers their rural area while the Sugar Grove community continues to be unserved.

 

Our community has been working closely with Delegate Jeff Campbell's office on these efforts. This has brought some promising resources to the table but we still aren't there yet. We need the cooperation of the Smyth County Board of Supervisors as well as providers in these efforts in order to make it happen. We have also been researching funding for towers, anything to interest providers to come to the area.

 

At this time, Smyth County School Board has entered into an agreement with Milestone Communications to market all county owned properties to providers. Sugar Grove Combined School is the only property in our community listed on this agreement but it is worth mentioning here just in case someone at Sprint is reading this and may be interested. At this point, I do not feel that our BoS is doing everything they can to help our community. Their energy and focuses have never been on the Sugar Grove community.

 

Sprint did contact me with a form for private property owners who were interested in submitting information about properties they have available for leasing.

 

I believe that we should have cellular service provided to our community for safety reasons if nothing else. We are situated between two mountains. This is a bad situation if you happen to have a break down or an accident. There is no access to phones along the way. Sugar Grove doesn't even have a pay phone anymore!

 

As far as service available in either direction, we are within 5 miles either way of limited services. We can cross the top of Nick's Creek and get service or drive 5-8 miles to Troutdale and get US Cellular only.

Our community website and Facebook page have additional information about our efforts and can be viewed at www.sugargroveva.com and www.facebook.com/SugarGroveVA

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Sprint should pop a tower in Sugar Grove for no other reason but to promote the hell out of it. "Sprint brought the residents of Sugar Grove cellular service where no other network would, now even rural communities can enjoy Sprint's new Now Network."

 

Once 1x800 and 800 LTE are done, they'll have a bunch more potential rural customers anyways. 

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Sprint should pop a tower in Sugar Grove for no other reason but to promote the hell out of it. "Sprint brought the residents of Sugar Grove cellular service where no other network would, now even rural communities can enjoy Sprint's new Now Network."

 

Once 1x800 and 800 LTE are done, they'll have a bunch more potential rural customers anyways.

 

I think you mean " the all new Sprint Network". I think they dropped the "Now Network" as their slogan recently. Alliteration is so half a decade ago.

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Sprint did contact me with a form for private property owners who were interested in submitting information about properties they have available for leasing.

 

 

Did anyone return the form to Sprint? Has anything at all developed from there?

 

Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

 

 

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I saw this topic and wanted to provide some information about our community and current lack of service.

 

Relevant to the information that's already stated in this forum thread, Troutdale is located approximately 8 miles from Sugar Grove on the other side of a mountain. The tower that was recently turned on at Volney reaches almost to the Grayson/Smyth County line at the top of the mountain. Only US Cellular customers can get service from this tower. After several months of research, it seems that a need to expand communications along the route from River North Prison to the Marion Correctional facility was the initial reason for the placement of this tower. On the other end of things in Smyth County however, there seems to have been some sort of lack of communication on this front. It seems that back in 2007 both Smyth and Grayson counties were working together to establish cellular service. Somewhere along 2011 or 2012 the two counties ceased to work together. Grayson County established a cellular tower that covers their rural area while the Sugar Grove community continues to be unserved.

 

Our community has been working closely with Delegate Jeff Campbell's office on these efforts. This has brought some promising resources to the table but we still aren't there yet. We need the cooperation of the Smyth County Board of Supervisors as well as providers in these efforts in order to make it happen. We have also been researching funding for towers, anything to interest providers to come to the area.

 

At this time, Smyth County School Board has entered into an agreement with Milestone Communications to market all county owned properties to providers. Sugar Grove Combined School is the only property in our community listed on this agreement but it is worth mentioning here just in case someone at Sprint is reading this and may be interested. At this point, I do not feel that our BoS is doing everything they can to help our community. Their energy and focuses have never been on the Sugar Grove community.

 

Sprint did contact me with a form for private property owners who were interested in submitting information about properties they have available for leasing.

 

I believe that we should have cellular service provided to our community for safety reasons if nothing else. We are situated between two mountains. This is a bad situation if you happen to have a break down or an accident. There is no access to phones along the way. Sugar Grove doesn't even have a pay phone anymore!

 

As far as service available in either direction, we are within 5 miles either way of limited services. We can cross the top of Nick's Creek and get service or drive 5-8 miles to Troutdale and get US Cellular only.

 

Our community website and Facebook page have additional information about our efforts and can be viewed at www.sugargroveva.com and www.facebook.com/SugarGroveVA

SugarGroveVA, applaud your community's effort to have cellular service brought to your area.  The biggest way to have cellular service brought to your area is to have a emphasis on public safety.  Wireline communications (POTS) is the only service which could be interrupted by severe weather, accident, etc that will cause interrupted communications.  Have you been in contract with Morgan Griffith to see what could be done to have a tower constructed?  Wireless cellular companies wouldn't be the only one to benefit from a tower being built, public safety agencies could also benefit from a communications tower built in Sugar Grove.    

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