Buffalo, NY - We may all get frustrated at times with a dropped call or some other service issue with our cell phone. That's what inspired Senator Chuck Schumer's office to launch a survey to look for dead zones in upstate New York.
Report on Cell Phone Dead Zones Survey
Ron Plants, WGRZ 7:41 PM. EDT September 07, 2016
The report from Schumer's office cites so-called dead zones in cell coverage all over upstate. About 733 total complaints came in from Western New York. They broke it out on maps of the counties which they said were verified.
And they broke it out for our local counties. There were 368 for Erie, 140 for Niagara County, 143 in Cattaraugus, and another 82 in Chautauqua County.
As for the carriers, Verizon lead the pack in upstate New York with nearly 26 - hundred reported dead zones,. Then came AT&T with over one thousand zones, followed by Sprint and T-Mobile. We did not list Trac phone coverage issues.
Schumer told us by a "landline" conference call that his staff is turning this report over to the cell carrier firms and the FCC to seek better service. As Schumer put it : "It's not always that they're lacking cell phone towers. They need different frequencies, they need different amounts of energy going into their systems. There are all kinds of technical changes that they can make."
But we also had to ask realistically if he expects the FCC to take any action. Citing promotional materials with coverage maps Schumer said : "Well...we're discussing with the FCC what the remedies are. It may be false advertising."
Kate MacKinnon of At&T issued this statement in response "We place the highest priority on taking care of our customers and providing fast, reliable connections. We are currently reviewing the data provided by Sen. Schumer’s survey and comparing that to our own internal data, which we constantly gather and analyze. This includes regular and statistically valid drive testing, direct customer feedback using our Mark the Spot app, and cell site stats – all designed to help us enhance our coverage."
Sprint also responded that they are building more towers and trying to expand network access. Others referred us to CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, which claims mobile data usage doubled from 2014 to 2015. And while they have added more than $30 billion in infrastructure, they are seeking to add more equipment on cell towers and streetlights. There was not specific response on the claims of their current coverage maps.
For more details here is a link to the report from Sen. Schumer's office. https://www.scribd.com/document/323292043/Schumer-Map-9-7-16-Upstate-NY-Cell-Phone-Dead-Zones-As-Reported-by-Constituents