It’s the Wild West of cell coverage. Some have full bars while others are left searching the desert for a speck of service.
“There’s a lot of gaps throughout the service areas,” said project manager for CityScape consulting firm Susan Rabold.
Cell phone carriers have been working across Mesa County to keep up with the exploding demand for more service and more bandwidth, without getting a good look at the big picture.That’s why CityScape won a contract to write up the area’s first Wireless Master Plan earlier this year.
On Wednesday, officials with the firm announced the initial results from their survey of Mesa County wireless infrastructure. According to their data, Mesa County currently has 135 wireless service towers and base stations, but that’s not enough to sustain the whole region’s use for the next decade.
Bandwidth usage across the United States is expected to jump about 650 percent by 2018. As wireless carriers continue to build cell towers throughout the region, area officials are hoping to put together a set of rules that guides the future development of the infrastructure.
“We’re trying to help maintain the aesthetic appearance of the infrastructure, keep the number [of towers] down to the minimal amount possible, but at the same time, bring coverage into areas where it is not,” said Rabold.
CityScape’s initial analysis designated multiple preferred locations in the initial master plan for future cell tower growth, including about 262 potential sites on public lands.