Cell coverage may improve this summer

SAN LUIS VALLEY- According to reports from Verizon and other local cellphone carriers, work has been started on cellphone towers in the region that may help improve coverage in the western end of the Valley. For several years now, local officials have worked with companies like Verizon and Viaero Wireless in hopes of improving bandwidth in the area especially during the summer months when cellphone coverage is close to null.

Though reports of these projects have yet to be confirmed through Verizon or Viaero Wireless, several people are reporting an improvement in coverage and crews have been working on towers on top of Aqua Ramon Mountain. According to one report, Verizon is replacing some equipment that they hope will improve bandwidth, but this claim has yet to be confirmed.

Over the course of the last five years, cellular and internet services in the area have gotten better; until well over 10,000 people flock to the area for a good time. Last year during the Fourth of July weekend in places like Creede and South Fork, the cellular and internet lines were so busy with the high number of users, they simply could not handle the load.

Discussions have been taking place through several channels ever since the West Fork Complex Fire in 2013 when the lack of communication became a severe safety concern. Mineral County Commissioners, as well as Rio Grande National Forest officials, have been trying to work on getting more cell towers in the area - especially along the Highway 149 corridor.

In an article printed last summer, it was stated that some sites along the 149 corridor are being considered for additional towers, though none have been installed as of yet. Some of the locations chosen for additional towers were pending evaluation from the Colorado State Historical Preservation Office before any work could begin.

Other discussions are underway to expand capacity on existing towers that are located near Deep Creek Road and on Bristol Head Mountain, but nothing has been finalized yet. A fiber optic cable was installed over Wolf Creek Pass and to Alamosa three years ago and a weather radar has been installed at the Alamosa Airport.

More information on cell coverage improvements will be reported as details become available. The coming summer season is not expected to be as busy as it was last year due to COVID-19 restrictions that have been put in place, so the lack of users will naturally improve cell coverage.


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