New cellular phone tower completed on Red Cliff tribal property
For more than two decades, I've griped about the poor (largely nonexistent) cellular coverage on Madeline Island and in neighboring Bayfield, Wisconsin, as well as most of the Chequamegon Bay and Apostle Islands area. And wirelesss Internet coverage in and around Bayfield and LaPointe, Wisconsin has been equally bad.
As far back as August of 2009, I blogged about the problem in my Madeline Island Real Estate blog, in a post entitled "Cellphone Secrets - How to get a Cellular Phone Signal on Madeline Island.
But times have finally changed. The new 300-foot LTE cell tower puts the primitive existing cell tower on Madeline Island to shame. LTE is a variant of the 4G wireless communication standard which provides the fastest connection-to-mobile Internet experience (supposedly ten times faster than third-generation towers).
The new cell tower (which is now fully operational) is located three miles north of Bayfield, Wisconsin. A joint project of FirstNet and AT&T, the new tower will provide priority service to first responders and other emergency service providers. Consumers will also benefit hugely from the service, with cell signal reach expected to expand from 20 percent to 80 percent coverage.
Equally exciting is the news that Bayfield Wireless will now be working with the Red Cliff tribe to install high-speed Internet on the tower.
What does all this mean? It shows that area residents are tired of excuses for poor cell service. After the tragic deaths of four tourists visiting our area last October, it was time for somebody to act. Kudos to the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for stepping in and making this a reality.