Cell phone coverage in rural America is improving.
We’ve all seen those cell phone coverage maps. The ones that blanket the country showing only tiny specs for the areas that don’t receive strong cell phone service.
But, many farmers fall into those rare areas. All it takes is a quick drive through the countryside to see firsthand the cellphone connectivity problems that rural America currently faces, says Brady Liggett, sales representative with TBS Electronics in Topeka, Kan. "There are simply a lot of unreliable spots in rural areas," he says.
An early February Farm Journal Pulse asked: How is the cell phone coverage on your farm? The more than 1,700 farmers and ranchers reported service varies, almost evenly, across the board
Around 20% of the respondents reported great cell phone coverage, while 32% rate their coverage as good. Slightly more than 20% say their coverage is OK, while only 8% have horrible coverage.
Here are the full results:
- Great: 23%
- Good: 32%
- OK: 22%
- Poor: 15%
- Horrible: 8%
All things considered, cell phone connectivity in rural America has come a long way in a relatively short time. Far-reaching cell phone towers now dot the landscape around many small towns. While some farmers may still need to be on top of a hill for a good signal, you rarely see cell phone antennas on top of people’s cars anymore.
The next phase for rural connectivity workarounds seems to be hitched on wireless Internet. The U.S. government has earmarked several billion dollars to help expand and rural broadband services.
In addition, tech giants such as Google are offering solutions. Through its Project Loon, Google has teamed up with Raven Industries to test high-altitude balloons that would create a communications network miles above the earth’s surface. Who knows…in the future, cell phone coverage might be strong enough to completely replace landlines.
Click the map below to see how people responded, based on their location: