Area Residents Still Frustrated by Cell Phone Service Issues

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 23, 2019 at 8:51am

Morgan County residents suffer continued frustration from cellphone service issues

Area residents voiced those frustrations today on the A.M. Conversations this morning on 1180am WLDS.

“I live in Woodson and basically have no coverage, and I have been working for the Census Bureau and there are many, many places that have no coverage.”

“I live in Roodhouse, and I have iPhones on my line, and I get one bar of signal. I’ve had AT&T for close to twenty years, and I am ready to switch.”

“The Federal Communications File number that we filed a long time ago is 3515143, and that connects you to an office in Washington D.C., and if we get enough complaints in there I think we might get something done.”

Parks and Lakes Superintendent Kelly Hall says that a lack of reliable cell service around Lake Jacksonville caused issues for authorities during a search for a missing person this summer, and raises his concerns about public safety at the lake.

“During that unfortunate incident, we relied heavily on cellular communication service and it was very weak for the different emergency agencies and responding agencies. On a holiday weekend out there we may have 3000 people at the lake, and the service is absolutely terrible. Should something happen on any weekend, we should be able to depend on someone dialing 911, but the service is so bad out there, a lot of the time, you have no service at all.”

Hall said the growing reliance on cell phones combined with the lack of accessible land lines in the area of the lake means that a more reliable service solution is needed.

“Just from a safety perspective, people rely on their cell phones, especially in an emergency situation. There are a lot of people concentrated in that south of town area on any given weekend, so I think it is very important that we have adequate service in that area.”

Director of Emergency Management Phil McCarty said that recent reports of 911 emergency system issues in the Franklin area via cell service has been pretty consistent. McCarty reminded residents to be realistic with service expectations.

“Access to the 911 system is critical for us, so we can make sure we can get people help when they need it the most, I am not going to downplay that. But it is also critical that people understand that their cell phone may not work everywhere in the whole entire world. It is not just Franklin, Illinois, there are a lot of other places it does not work. Reliance on cell phones is what we are used to, because that is where we are at as a society. Now that being said, I know personally and agency wide we know that AT&T has invested some funds in Morgan County, and in that area over the last couple of years. There is a tower going up in Woodson to help fill in the gap in that area.”

The planned new cell tower planned to go up in the Woodson area is the only cellular infrastructure improvement known currently on the books in the Morgan County Area.