Years of weak cell phone service 'frustrating' for residents of Cornwall, P.E.I.

Unreliable cell service has been a persistent problem in Cornwall, some people living there say. Calls frequently drop, and cellular data is also very weak.  (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
Unreliable cell service has been a persistent problem in Cornwall, some people living there say. Calls frequently drop, and cellular data is also very weak. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Some people living in Cornwall, P.E.I. say they're frustrated with the lack of reliable cell service they experience on a regular basis, and they'd like to see a solution.

When he's at home, Rick Doucette said he doesn't expect his cell phone to work, and calls frequently get dropped.

In the six years since he's lived there, Doucette said his cell phone service at home is "hit and miss." Many of his neighbours have had the same experience.

"We have to go outside and stand in certain areas outside in order to get a proper signal," he said.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

These problems persist every day, Doucette said, adding he's learned he can't depend on his cell service. When calling his sons in Toronto, Doucette said he'll use Whatsapp or Facebook instead.

Not only is it frustrating, but Doucette said it's also a safety concern. He lives in a complex with many seniors, where reliable cell service is important.

"A few seconds makes a lot of difference," he said of the risk of a call dropping in an emergency situation.

Doucette said he's regularly contacted Bell, who own cell phone towers in his area, in hopes of addressing the weak signal.

Installing a new tower closer to where he lives might help solve the problem, he added.

Not a new issue, councillor says

Cornwall councillor Elaine Barnes said she's heard these types of concerns from residents, and has experienced unreliable signal in parts of Cornwall for herself.

"It's quite frustrating. Cell phone service in Canada is not the cheapest, and you expect it to work when you need it," she said.

Barnes said this issue isn't new, and has been a commonly known problem for several years. In fact, people have even started to get used to it.

"It's sad that it's gone on that long that you become accustomed to poor service," she said.

Barnes said she brought up the issue at a council meeting as recently as a month ago, and she'd like to see Cornwall follow up.

"I know in the past the town has reached out regarding cell phone service in pockets of Cornwall and the challenges that residents are experiencing. I haven't heard back on that recently, but I do know the issue continues."

CBC News reached out to Bell Aliant for comment. The company said it does not have any plans to install a new tower in Cornwall, but plans to be in touch with the town soon.