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I think the most important question about mobile service around the fringe of the BW is about the holes in the existing network. Verizon desperately needs a tower at the Y-store west of Tower, which could comfortably cover a substantial area including Tower itself that is currently mostly a dead zone, while AT&T signal doesn't reach very far into the woods surrounding Ely in part because the main antenna in the Ely area is situated too low to cover a large area for mobile service and there's no coverage along Highway 1 through Isabella at all. Those are probably higher life-safety priorities than putting a tower near, say, the end of the Fernberg Road, even though that would also be helpful.
In the end more towers are going to be needed over the existing network anyway because of the increasing volume of use of cell phones and mobile data. Even with digital 3G, there are only so many ways you can split a signal on a single antenna set.
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