Time to end the 3G delay in Demopolis

Published 9:42 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

For at least the third time in almost a year, AT&T announced this week that it would delay an anticipated rollout of 3G service in Marengo County.

In April of last year, I spoke with AT&T spokesperson, Sue Sperry, and we shared in the enthusiasm in offering this technology in and around Demopolis.

Now, here we are almost a year later and we’re no better off than when we started. Target date after target date has been announced and moved.

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Our new target date, March 30, is nearly one full year from when the announcement was made.

This may not be all that important to many of you. The biggest immediate beneficiaries of this service will be carriers and users of the iPhone. I am one of those, like many hundreds of others in Marengo County.

My phone, as most iPhones and many other “smart phones”, operates at maximum effectiveness using 3G service. Not having it locally means current AT&T customers aren’t getting the maximum bang for their buck with regards to their phone.

Would you buy a Corvette if Chevrolet said you could only drive at speeds under 35 miles per hour until you get to Tuscaloosa or Birmingham? I doubt it.

I purchased my iPhone, like many others, a few months after the announcement was made that Marengo County would soon have 3G. I bought the phone in July. We were supposed to have 3G by September. I was more than willing to wait the four to six weeks for the faster, more reliable service.

We sit here now, six months later, in much the same boat as last July: Waiting.

I fully understand equipment delays and problems in the process have hindered AT&T in their quest to make this service available. I further understand that AT&T is investing millions of dollars in this upgrade.

What I’d like for AT&T to understand is that there are thousands of people who, like me, tempered their buying decisions based on what we were told in April. There are others who wait with baited breath to jump from AT&T to a different carrier if this service isn’t offered soon.

There are also economic implications. Offering 3G service is a nice thing to use as an economic development recruitment tool.

My hope is that AT&T is working as hard as they claim for the people of Demopolis and that their new target date – March 30 – is accurate.

I know many of you share these sentiments, as we’ve had this discussion several times over the past nine months.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your service strength. Hopefully, we’ll see the change from ‘edge’ to ‘3G’ soon.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.