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EDITORIAL – Cellphone rates are way too high but what about dead zones?

(Image: Pixabay.com)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE AMOUNT WE PAY for the privilege of yakking and texting on our cellphones is downright uncivilized compared to people in other places.

Premier John Horgan wants to make cell service cheaper and contracts easier to understand because cellphones are essential.

This cellphone user isn’t about to disagree with that assessment. Though there’s still an occasional sighting of a flip phone, they’re as rare as a two-dollar bill — we now use our high-tech cellphones like computers for just about everything but making dinner, and that’s probably on the way.

An argument can be made that life would be better if we all took those pocket-sized devices and tossed them into a shredder.

Life was more serene when there was a phone booth on every street corner. We used to talk to each other in the elevator and read magazines — yes, magazines — in the dentist’s office.

But, businesses were less efficient, our spouse couldn’t remind us to stop for a quart of milk on the way home, and more people died on highways waiting for medical assistance.

So, like it or not, yes, the cellphone has become a necessity as well as an entertainment tool. But while we’re complaining about the high cost of cellphone service, let’s talk about the availability of cell service at all.

While those in urban centres and along major population corridors take cell service for granted, there are vast areas of the province with no cell signals.

Access to high-speed internet is the focus of many government funding programs but much less is heard about the complete lack of access to mobile phone service in many areas.

So if cell service is so essential, it’s time something serious was done about providing access to all, whatever the price.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7044 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Cellphone rates are way too high but what about dead zones?

  1. Don Drysdale // December 6, 2019 at 9:20 AM // Reply

    We survived quite well before cell phones came along, now the illusion that they are a must has been bought hook, line, and sinker. Carry on and keep paying, not my problem because I don’t have one and never have.

  2. We are already swamped with radio frequency energy. Cell sites need power and power lines to them. So much for pristine wilderness.
    Satellite access has been possible but that is expensive. In the long run, do we want tons more infrastructure and a cell site on top of every mountain 20 Km apart?
    This might require some wisdom from Mr. Milobar, the environment critic ……….

  3. Soo … just how do we do that? ‘Make’ the providers spend millions to put in hundreds of towers so a cabin village of 10 seasonal people and hunters have coverage? Would this be legislation? Or do Governments (Prov or Fed) kickback to 3 companies, massive subsidies to get it done? And are taxpayers ok with tax dollars going to private companies … whatever the price?
    I think not.

  4. I spoke, in part, to this topic 2 weeks ago (https://acuriouslookatpoliticsinbc.blogspot.com/2019/11/if-you-were-buying-new-car-would-you.html), where I mentioned:

    ” … there is a responsibility we have in the transactions we make. Don’t get suckered in by the shiniest brightest item on the shelf – don’t be taken in by the hard sell, walk away – and only buy what you need! And make sure, especially in the case of a written contract / agreement with a cellular phone service provider, that they go over with you the costs associated with that service you will be receiving, and what any and all added costs will be…”

    As a nation, due to population and geography, there is a need for far more cell towers than other countries, many in very inaccessible and hard to reach terrain – that increases costs.

    Areas where service is not available are becoming fewer and fewer, but in the middle of nowhere, with just trees and squirrels, no one is going to invest in the costs of cell towers.

    Be informed … know what you’re buying … is the best advise I can offer.

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