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West Park is being left to struggle with poor cellphone service, says Red Deer man

Calls continue to be dropped: Brad Giles
A new Telus cellphone tower in Timberlands doesn’t help poor reception in West Park, says a Red Deer man. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

A new Telus cellphone tower in east-central Red Deer is not improving poor reception for West Park residents, says a frustrated local man.

“Telus, just like Rogers and Bell, are billion dollar corporations that have a responsibility to the millions of customers to provide secure reliable service,” said Brad Giles.

“It’s not like I live in the middle of the bush. I live in west Red Deer — two blocks from Red Deer Polytechnic.”

According to RDP, there are cellphone reception “inconsistencies” in certain spots on the main campus. But RDP has an in-building repeater system that likely makes reception on campus and in the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre somewhat better than in the community.

Giles, who resides off of 57th Avenue in the older section of West Park, said he’s glad cellphone reception seems to have improved for some Clearview and Timberlands residents since Telus erected a new cellphone tower next to St. Joseph High School.

But “here in West Park, where I pay just as much for my cell and internet services as the folks in Clearview, absolutely nothing has changed,” added Giles.

It’s a common occurrence at his house for his cellphone to cut out in the middle of a call.

“My friend called me… within one minute of the conversation, it started breaking up and we struggled to communicate. Soon after, (the friend) just said, ‘It’s happening again, I’ll call you later’ and then he hung up.

“The cell service is still absolutely terrible in West Park and I believe we are being overlooked and forgotten,” said Giles.

When he previously spoke to a Telus representative about the problem, he said, “I got the runaround…. They were saying maybe it was the way the service was installed at my house,” but Giles knows of three other neighbours on his Wilkins Green street who have the same issues.

He’s also heard some people living further afield in the new West Lake area are similarly affected.

“I believe that Telus has no intention of fixing the obvious shortfall in their infrastructure and this will never get better until someone like me starts getting louder and louder,” said Giles.

“I have no intention of …spending extra money to improve the service shortfall,” he added. “I don’t think this problem is my responsibility.”

Telus public relations representative Chelsey Higdon responded with a statement from Telus: “We completed construction on a new cell tower in the northeast area of Red Deer at the beginning of the year, and the site has been live since January 6. It is providing faster and more reliable cellular services to customers on the east side of the city, including Deer Park North East, Rosedale Estates, Timberstone Park, Clearview Ridge and the Timberland area.

“We understand the importance of network connectivity and are exploring options to meet the growing needs in other parts of the city.”

Last fall, Red Deer city council sent letters to all telecommunications providers, including Telus, to lobby them to improve coverage for Red Deer neighbourhoods since residents from all parts of the city were complaining about dropped calls and poor reception.

City council also discussed how Red Deer planners should consider cellphone reception when designing new neighbourhoods

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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