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Missouri: A solution to dead zones

Countless cell phone towers make it possible to connect wirelessly in most places. But there are dead zones, and now state lawmakers are looking at legislation that would address new technology to help cover the gap.

It's a small cell site, technology that's scaled down from we're used to seeing. That means it doesn't need a big town but instead could be attached to a utility pole.

"Most of the time from home to my job or to town I don't have any signal and it's very disheartening,” says Martha Niess.

So Martha Niess of Joplin is interested in signal expansion through the use of small cell sites.

"I love that idea - that is so needed and so necessary,” says Martha Niess.

The technology is much smaller than what's typically found on a cell tower, meaning they can piggyback on existing structures. It's a much cheaper option.

"What they do is they attach to utility poles,” says Steve Lawver, CJ City Administrator. It's low power designed to expand in a limited range, an idea Carl Junction City Administrator Steve Lawver likes.

"Anything we can do to increase the connectivity,” says Steve Lawver.

But in the right way.

"It does need to be done the right way. There seems to be a push from wireless providers to be able to do it their way,” says Steve Lawver.

And Lawver says that may not always be in the best interest of the public when it comes to safety or appearance. Missouri lawmakers are taking a look at the issue through House Bill 1948 and Senate Bill 837.

"Those are both bills that wireless providers have presented to legislators to be able to authorize small cell sites using municipally owned utility poles,” says Steve Lawver.

Both the House and Senate bills have been introduced for consideration but there has been no vote on either measure yet.

This article originally ran on

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