‘Can you hear me now?’ In much of rural VT, answer still no

By Guy Page

‘Can you hear me now?’ Despite years of efforts to improve cellphone service in Vermont, the answer in many parts of rural Vermont still ranges from “not very well” to “not at all.”

Between July 1 and September 15 this year, the Vermont Public Service Department conducted a drive test to determine the extent of mobile wireless coverage along all primary roads in the state. The results (see map) will not surprise many Vermont drivers, especially those on rural roads. 

Large sections of rural Vermont, and most notably Orange County, have, in the words of Journal-Opinion editor Alex Nuti De-Biasi, “been forgotten by time.”

In 2019, the PSD conducted a similar test using internal resources that included fewer roads. 

For the 2022 test, the PSD partnered with the Vermont Agency of Transportation whose road maintenance staff conducted the driving. The PSD retained the services of Ookla, a company that provides broadband and mobile internet performance testing, to provide the software and technical support for the project. 

The drive test included over 6,500 miles of planned routes. The drive test was conducted between July 1 and September 15, and included 322,245 voice calls and 321,390 Ookla data tests. 

Tests covered 62% of the 19,744 Vermont road miles. Of the 313,062 business and residential buildings in the state, 75% are within the tested area.

Categories: Media

16 replies »

  1. Amazing Pat Leahy in doling out billions to ridiculous causes did not feel his own state worthy of a few bucks to cover this dead cell zone

    • Want to get a whole small community to turn against you, request permission to put a cell tower on your property. On the bright side, no cell service – no down country liberals buying up property.

      • The irony of this is that a lot of those so dead set against having a repeater in their area are afraid of radio waves, and some damage they worry it may cause their brain. What I find funny is some of these people are old hippies that tripped their brains out “back in the day,” and are now afraid of what the radio waves may do to the last two brain cells they have left.

  2. We have intermittent cell phone.. most of the time we must walk up the hill to have a conversation. Yup and funding for a war in which we should not be involved and one which we are unlikely to win. Other programs too which are just thrown away dollars on useless programs and policies.

  3. I live in Calais, 9 miles from the State Capitol. I’m on a hill. If I walk a half mile in almost any direction I’ll have service, but where I am my cell phone is good for little more than a paper weight.

    • Sixty dollar a month (or more) pocket watch, but you can play sudoku on it. Sirius radio is just as worthless in parts of Vermont. Try listening to a football game – two minutes to go and drive towards Orange on RT 302.

  4. I’m honestly fine with not having service at my home. I do have a cell phone, mostly for pre pandemic travel, but at this point, I’m paying money just for very occasional GPS and to keep the phone number. It’s really just another unnecessary expense. The irritating thing is the increasing requirement for cell phones to verify online services, and my landline phone company (!) wanted me to use my cell to pay them after refusing to accept an actual phone call payment! Besides being circuitously idiotic, I’d have to drive a couple miles to do it, defeating the purpose of either service.

    But really, there’s no one who needs to bug me while I’m away from the house. Put on your big boy pants, use your words, and leave a message on my old school phone if I don’t answer, or else I figure it just ain’t important.


  5. With the predicted dangers of global 5G and the need for 5G towers, I have no interest in better cell phone service. Kept my landline. I can walk or drive down the way if needed.
    We need our pollinators and good health not better cell phone coverage.
    We need to be able to grow our own food not improve our electronic leashes.

  6. We used to have a thing called a Telephone. Hard wired on the backbone. Mine still works fine. Idiots chasing Schrodinger’s tail. Hahahaha

    • Same here Adam. No cell service and don’t care if I do. DSL, not wireless, no wifi, no smart meter. Why would I pay to have a tracker and a spy with me. Might as well pay a FBI agent to follow me around (not like they don’t now, according to latest Twitter dump).

      If you need a computer buy one, otherwise most if not all cell phones are like carrying dynamite to kill a fly. Too much money for a computer that makes calls and a complete lack of privacy. I did not sell off my soul to have a standard land line can you say you even read the TOS for a cell phone, Oh and I don’t get dosed with toxic radiation to call friends. Doesn’t anyone read the actual science and studies about how harmful they STILL are.
      Let’s talk DUSP (driving using a cell phone) . Last I heard it was illegal to drive and use a cell phone but i see it all the time, still. People wobbling down the road to call someone. When was the last time the cops listed they busted X amount of distracted driving and fined X ? Cell phones are a waste of money. People did what they needed without them
      . I agree completely with FreedomFounders1776. It is easy to be in complete control people with cellphones Just ask the Chinese and their social Credit score, or the contact tracing, all done with cell phones and lets not forget all the data breaches.

  7. When Governor Douglas started the state-wide broadband with the first mulit-million dollar earmark that materalized nothing. How many millions spent since then to this very day? Where does all the money go after well over a decade of grants and taxpayer funding for broadband? Likely in the same pockets that promise cell service and that never materalizes either. Follow the money and who sits on the boards and commissions.

  8. No cell service where I live. I depend on my wifi to use my cell phone. Of course when the power goes out I have no way to communicate with anyone. That’s probably not too safe. But the idea of paying for a landline in addition just to have phone service during power outages? If it were super cheap maybe but it’s not. We definitely are discriminated against here in the rural parts of the state; Chittenden County gets the money, jobs, colleges, cell and internet etc. We’re just here to pay the taxes I guess.