New Cell Phone Service Coming To Harlan County

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

You might not have to find a land-line next time you're stranded with car trouble or need to call home in parts of Harlan County.
A multi-million dollar effort to extend cell phone service is underway.

Cell phones are not much use to people in about one-third of Harlan County. It's been that way since the beginning of cell phones.

Dan Mosley, Harlan County native and the county's 9-1-1 coordinator, says, "It's very frustrating, to anyone."

But now Appalachian Wireless is pumping six million dollars into a plan to build at least eight new cell phone towers in the next year.

Terina Collins, Sales Associate with Appalachian Wireless, says, "It's their home turf. I mean southeastern Kentucky is what Appalachian Wireless was built on."

That means service for people along 26 miles of Highway 38, plus Cawood, the Tri-Cities, and 119 South to Bell County.

Evarts Mayor Burl Fee says, "It's a long time coming but it's the best thing, i think, that's happened to Harlan County."

9-1-1 officials say it makes a huge difference for public safety, especially in the most rural areas.

"If there was a wreck, there's no one who lives nearby to call 9-1-1 from a house, so with not having any cell phone service up there, it makes for a really dangerous situation," says Mosley

And they say it makes the area more attractive to visitors.

"Something as minor as not being able to talk on a cell phone may mean a lot to a tourist," adds Mosley.

The new service is still a work in progress.

"They still are constantly looking at filling gaps where customers are saying, 'I need service in this area,' " says Collins.

And Appalachian Wireless may not stop at eight towers.

Three towers are already up in Harlan County, and one in Evarts is now under construction.


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