COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Colonie town supervisor Peter Crummey gathered emergency response leaders near the intersection of State Route 9 and Menand Rd — a cell phone dead zone for many carriers — to call for an improvement to the busy area’s cell service.
“The brazen lack of urgency to address cell phone dead zones in Colonie are unacceptable” said Peter Crummey.
Crummey said there’ve been 3,300 dropped calls logged by local emergency dispatchers.
Bad cell service doesn’t just hinder calls but mobile internet data as well. EMS Chief Paul Sugrue says it’s necessary for paramedics to use an app to notify hospitals of their arrival.
Colonie Police Chief Mike Woods said people’s reliance on mobile phones have made reaching for help in areas with no reception increasingly difficult.
“Everybody has cell phones now. What’s happened is they have given up many times in the residence, their landline or they’re hard line phone to their house so they rely on their cell phones for their communication” he told us.
The problem has been identified so what is the solution? In July 2022 The town board passed a law which Crummey said was aimed at making it easier for cell carriers to apply for right of way permits through their highway department to install small cell nodes to existing poles that can boost cell service to reduce dead zones. He points to one carrier in particular.
“Verizon has basically ignored the town for years. They blamed the last administration; they blamed National Grid for not letting them put the cell nodes on top of polls. It’s finger-pointing all over the place and while we wait, we are all in Jeopardy here” the town supervisor said.
The conversation about dropped phone conversations intensified after Kaylin Gillis’ death. The 20 year old was shot after the car she was in turned into the wrong driveway. Friends had to drive for miles in rural Washington county to obtain enough signal to call for help.
What can you do if you’re in an emergency with no cell signal?
“Try to connect to a Wi-Fi network. If you can find one, go to a building with a landline. That’s really the only option until they put up cell phone towers, says Colonie’s EMS Chief Paul Sugrue.
We reached out to Verizon, AT&T, & T Mobile for their comment on other potential solutions. They have yet to reach back at the time of this article’s posting.