fighters have not taken this issue lying down. They have consulted the Municipality of the County of Antigonish – something that hasn’t yet resulted in a tangible change.
"The municipality is completely on board. We talked about the cost of funding towers, and how important those towers are – and it just ended there, without going anywhere," Maceachern said.
Maceachern expressed similar disappointed with telecommunication companies which are responsible for technological infrastructure in the area, and what little she sees them having done to rectify the problem.
"Providers are saying the technology is constantly being upgraded, and they’re putting a tower here and there. They promise people better service – and it never seems to happen," she said. "People are paying the same amount as everyone else for bills and cell coverage, and they’re not getting it. You don’t pay a lower rate for substandard service."
According to the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, cellular towers in the county are owned and run by three companies: Bell, Rogers and Eastlink.
Telus, and a number of other providers use Bell’s infrastructure to provide service in Antigonish County.
In an email response, Isabelle Boulet with Bell noted wireless strength in rural areas can often be limited.
"Advanced communications networks are expensive to build and operate, and the business case for expanded wireless coverage in areas of low population density is especially challenging with private investment alone," Boulet wrote.
Boulet wrote that while Bell is "always looking for network expansion opportunities, including partnerships with governments and communities," it has no plans for any enhancements of projects in the Cape George area anytime soon.
Requests for information were extended to Eastlink and Rogers, but the companies were not able to provide a response in time for the press deadline of The Casket.
Maceachern is unsure what to do next – beyond raising a stink, and making it clear, at the federal and provincial level, the issue still needs to be properly addressed.
"I don’t understand how we get such little service. We’re not that far out of town," Maceachern said. "Something needs to happen. It isn’t the first time this has come up. Shrugging their shoulders and saying, ‘nothing we can do about it’ isn’t going to save someone’s life."
Councilor Mary Maclellan of the Municipality of Antigonish County has been battling to bring better service to District 1, an area that includes Cape George, Arisaig, Malignant Cove for a long time – and that effort that remains ongoing.
Funding was the topic of an Aug. 20 meeting with residents of District #1, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Antigonish MLA Randy Delorey. Maclellan said a discussion of potential sources of funding to improve wireless telecommunications infrastructure in the area took place.
"We reiterated concerns expressed by many residents from the district, mainly about the lack of reliable service and of Internet service," Maclellan said. "People wanting to build here and have some sort of business through the Internet are not able to do that."
"[Delorey and Fraser] said they are continuing to work on cellular and broadband Internet coverage in Antigonish County," Maclellan said. "They understand the issues, and they are trying to come up with a system that will work for everyone to provide better service here."
"It’s a problem beyond the county, it’s a problem throughout Nova Scotia, but what we’re concentrating on is the county, specifically with funding for District #1. We’ve been putting aside funding over three years, with the federal and provincial governments, to try to encourage cellphone service to be provided more quickly."
Representatives for EMS were unable to specifically comment on mobile coverage in Antigonish County, citing a lack of concrete data to provide an opinion on the matter, one way or the other.
However, Derrick Leblanc, director of provincial programs for EHS, said, "ultimately, what we’re concerned with is any barriers to contact, with the 911 system. Rural areas underserviced by cellular providers would be an issue."
"It’s a challenge for people encountering emergencies outside of a home, and away from a landline. That’s always a concern," Leblanc added.
Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, a media spokesperson with the RCMP, wrote in an email that the level of cellphone coverage in any given area isn’t an issue for RCMP members.
Clarke added the Antigonish District RCMP "is not affected" by the quality of cell coverage in the District #1 area of Antigonish County.
She added, "our equipment is capable of providing our police officers with excellent coverage with respect to our police radios and the mobile workstations in our vehicles, throughout the entire country."