SNOW HILL – A local doctor called on county officials to do more to address the lack of reliable cell and internet coverage throughout the county.
In a recent letter, Dr. William T. Greer III asked the Worcester County Commissioners to bring a cell tower to the Bishopville area to address the longstanding lack of cell and internet service. Commissioner Jim Bunting referenced the letter in Tuesday’s regular meeting of the commissioners.
“He’s my neighbor and he’s absolutely right,” Bunting said. “It’s nonexistent.”
In his letter to the commissioners, dated Jan. 19, Greer said access to good cell and internet service was non-existent at his home in Bishopville. He said that in his decades in Worcester County, he’d had many IT firms evaluate the situation and they had all said the only solution was a closer tower for cell service and cable internet.
“Not having good internet service is a problem but not having basic cell service is dangerous,” Greer wrote. “I have missed phone calls from many of my patients because their calls won’t go through. I literally have to get in my car in the middle of the night to drive to the end of my driveway to get cell service.”
Greer said that was ridiculous for the 21st century.
“We have put up with this for years and it just keeps getting worse,” he said. “I cannot understand why the county commissioners have not addressed this problem over the last 20 years.”
Bunting said the issue had been discussed since he’d been elected and yet no improvements had been made. Just last month, the county agreed to work with a vendor from Chestertown to expand access to broadband. Bunting pointed out the company had proposed expanding access in the southern part of the county but hadn’t mentioned any of the northern communities.
“I don’t see us getting anywhere,” he said. “Somewhere along the line we’re going to have to do something.”
Commissioner Ted Elder agreed that that connectivity was a problem throughout Worcester County.
“There’s places all over that have the same issue,” he said.
Commissioner Bud Church offered similar comments and said the issue had been highlighted by the virtual leaning local students had been tasked with since the pandemic began.
“In this day and age, I can’t imagine that we can’t solve that problem,” he said. “It’s going to cost a little bit of money but people need service today. I think it was a need before and I think it’s moved up to an urgent need that we need to address.”