Cell Service Lacking in Yancey Co.

Updated: Friday, August 15 2014, 07:36 PM EDT
Cell Service Lacking in Yancey Co. story image
A mountain community is concerned over the lack of cell phone coverage in the area. The South Toe Fire Department raised a small tower in Busick a few years ago during a search for missing children. The tower has served many residents since, but the department doesn't have the funding to maintain it.

"It's been about a month since I had good service," says Gene Willis, who lives in the area.

Gene says the lack of coverage is concerning. He can only rarely get a text message out, even when standing directly below the tower.

"I work outside a lot by myself and I'm always afraid I might get hurt. I don't have any cell service so I worry about it."

Gene says he's not only concerned for neighbors around Busick, but also for the many tourists who stop along the stretch of Highway 80.

"We have the golf course just down the road, a little motel down there. They come in and they can't get service. They seem to be pretty upset about that too," says Gene.

While some tourists believe venturing off-the-grid is part of the allure of the mountain community, some say you may run a risk.

"If you break down or have an issue, you probably can just knock on a door and someone will help you," says Marvin Carlton, of China Grove.

The fire department says they would repair the tower in the case of another massive search. In the meantime, folks are hoping a major cellular provider will hear their concerns.

By: Hope Hanselman
Follow Hope on Twitter @HopeNews13Cell Service Lacking in Yancey Co.
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