Got a cellphone? Don't expect to use it in Lumsden

The town manager of Lumsden, on Newfoundland's east coast, is fed up with the lack of cellphone service available in the community.

The town manager of Lumsden, a community located on Newfoundland's east coast, is fed up with the lack of cellphone service available in the community.

An iPhone won't be of much use in Lumsden because of poor cellular coverage, the town manager says. (The Associated Press)
Residents are paying for the service — but most of the time can't use their phones in their own homes. 

Jeanie Stokes describes the service as "very poor" and "almost non-existent." 

"I have zero coverage in my house. I have a new iPhone and 90 per cent of the time I'm using Wi-Fi because the cellphone service is so unreliable. You can't use it on a regular basis," Stokes told CBC.

Stokes said residents in the town feel they've been abandoned by their cellular provider, Bell Mobility.

Excellent cellphone reception nearby

Stokes said in the Town of New-Wes-Valley, which is about 20 kilometres away from Lumsden, residents have reliable service as the town has a cellphone tower. 

"Their service is excellent. Musgrave Harbour is feeding off Carmanville, which is pretty good as well."

Stokes said a decent cellphone service is important for town residents — but also for the many tourists who arrive in town, especially during the summer months. Lumsden is well-known for its long stretches of white, sandy beaches.

"We've got a lot of people using summer homes here, we've got a lot of people camping here. We've got two parks. The tourists and visitors are dependent on their cellular devices to contact home, or emergency response or whatever."

Bell says there are no plans to boost service

Stokes said she has contacted Bell Mobility on many occasions to inquire about a boost in the level of cellphone service.

I have a new iPhone, and 90 per cent of the time I'm using Wi-Fi because the cellphone service is so unreliable- Jeanie Stokes, manager of the Town of Lumsden

"We're stuck. We've sent numerous letters to Bell Mobility to our regional manager in Gander," said Stokes. "We did get a bit of a response from him a few years ago, and he did come out and explain our situation to us. But since that, we've had another contact further up at Bell Mobility and we haven't heard any response at all — except for the time that New-Wes-Valley was going to get an improvement in their service that should benefit us — but it didn't."

Bell Mobility suggested to Stokes that the poor cellphone reception is most likely due to the geography of the town.

"We're a little bit down in a dip, we're out further on the coast than the other towns. Other than that, they have no plans to give us the power. I would like for them to either boost it on either side of us — or for us to have a tower closer to us so that we could use our cellphones."


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