Searching for a signal

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For those capable of doing so, start-up your computer, and run a Google search for, Northern Pen, cell service.

If one is lucky enough to live in a municipality with a good Internet connection, it’s easy to see residents have written letters to the editor about the lack of proper cell coverage in this area, and even local politicians got into the fray.

Although that’s all well and good, some of those articles and letters date back as far as 2009.

It’s now 2012.

Is the idea of securing decent cell coverage dead – dead like the cell coverage that’s on the highways and in towns across the Northern Peninsula?

It’s frightening to think that coastal Newfoundland and Labrador still, in 2012, doesn’t have adequate cell coverage.

You hit a moose at 2 a.m., there’s not much hope for you unless someone passes by.

You blow an engine at 1:30 a.m., you’re probably going to be sitting in your car for a while.

You hit a patch of ice during a typical, harsh Newfoundland and Labrador winter storm, and you end up in a ditch at 2:30 a.m., you better get comfortable.

The Northern Peninsula isn’t the only place that lacks decent cell coverage.

Just take Route 360 down to Harbour Breton, or drive around the loop that includes places like Musgrave Harbour and New-Wes-Valley, and you’ll notice your cell phone will continue to search for a signal.

It’s atrocious.

Yet, like 2009, nothing is better.

While driving back from Cook’s Harbour last week, a highway that’s as narrow as any other in this province, there wasn’t a single bit of service. You’re on a stretch of highway, nobody is around, and you don’t have a piece of mind that, if something happens, you can always call someone for help.

Forget about it.

St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet, you have Come Home Year celebrations planned.

Although the talk of the town will be festive and jovial, rest assured the topic of horrid cell coverage will come up.

How can’t it?

It’s mind blowing, really, that we supposedly live in a have province, but we have to do without something like decent cell coverage.

Doesn’t sound like much of a have province, does it?

Then again, it looks like we’re also going to live in a province where gaining access to information may be more costly, and take more time, than it ever did before.

Sometimes it seems like we’re moving back to 2009 instead of moving ahead to 2013.

Why can’t rural Newfoundland and Labrador secure proper cell coverage? Why is it taking so long? Is it because rural Newfoundland is rural Newfoundland?

RCMP officers can be seen racing over the highways in their cruisers with sirens blaring, but families who have friends or other family members on the highway won’t know if they’re involved in an accident because of a lack of cell service.

You can see a mother standing by a window, her hands clasped together in prayer, waiting for a car that may or may not pull into the driveway, all because she couldn’t call.

A little isn’t enough.

Nobody can say, well, there’s better coverage in St. Anthony than there ever was before, and seriously believe that’s good enough.

It isn’t.

Northern Peninsula, you deserve what the rest – well, the majority – of the province has already.

When you head out on the highway, when you take that near five-hour drive to Deer Lake, you should do so knowing help is only a phone call away.

A bit of coverage here and a bit of coverage there is a crock. Knowing there’s a few places on the highway where you can get a single bar on your cell phone is nonsense.

It’s time to wake-up.

It’s time to realize it’s 2012, and not 1985.

It’s time to move ahead, and not settle for dial-up.

This peninsula is beautiful, but the highways can be a death trap with no way out.

Organizations: Google, RCMP

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Peninsula, St. Anthony Harbour Breton Musgrave Harbour New-Wes-Valley Deer Lake

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