Note: A photograph previously posted with this story and captioned "Lake George's controversial "Frankenpine" cell phone tower" was incorrectly labeled--in fact, that picture was of a cell phone tower elsewhere.
The Queensbury republican made the comments Tuesday at the “Forever Wired” conference at Clarkson University.
Little and other legislators have been pushing for better cell service in the Adirondacks for several years—and thanks to these and other efforts, the situation has improved.
But tower siting difficulties and low-density populations mean the battle for total broadband and cell coverage has yet to be won—and Little says holes in service are preventing law enforcement from doing its job:
Even the state police their communication level in the North Country is not where it is in the rest of the state…they have laptops in their cars with an aircard, so they can find out who they’re stopping. But when they don’t have the cell coverage, they can’t do that.
Little also says the lack of good cell coverage and broadband internet—means the region is missing the chance to create jobs:
To telecommute from home, transcription and medical records, data call centers…to do so many things to help people in rural areas be employed.
People who own second homes in the Adirondacks might also spend more time and money in the area if broadband and cell service was better, Little says—and young people and entrepreneurs will also be more attracted to the region if cell and internet access are improved.
Little says she’s supporting proposed legislation from US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand…that would create a grant program to help companies, local governments and non-profits bring broadband access to underserved rural areas.