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PSC hopes to boost Mississippi cell signal

Riding down the road, talking with a friend on the phone and then the call drops. This happens far too often in Mississippi and it’s not just an inconvenience, it could be dangerous if there is no cell service to call 911.

Ryan Brown Deputy Commissioner, of the Public Service Commission, said they are asking for Mississippians’ help to fix the lack of cell phone service in the state. They are asking Mississippians to download an app called the FCC Speed test.

“What this will allow you to do is to run a test on your phone, regardless of who your carrier is, so you can run a test on there and it will determine how much signal strength you have in a given area,” Brown said.

They are currently doing a mass survey of the state trying to find out where the spots are. They will then take the information and submit it to the FCC in November.

“The goal is to say, well if you [Cellphone companies] are going to argue that you have the most coverage in the United States… prove it,” Brown said.

If the PSC is successful in the challenge, Brown said they would be able to open up the possibility for broader coverage in Mississippi.

“We could build up new towers to fill in these holes, or to provide upgrades to existing towers to plug those holes,” Brown said. “That’s what this is about, to fill in those gaps for cell phone coverage across the state… In 2018 we are still talking about places in rural America that do not have cell phone service and that is unacceptable.”

The FCC Speed test is a free app available for Apple and Android users and Brown said it takes less than a minute, depending on how fast the coverage is. However, he said if there is no service in the area the app will say that the test has failed.

Brown added that Mississippi is the first state in the country to tackle the issue.

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