Farmers are heading into the fields north of Dauphin without cell coverage.
Lorna DeVos says rural residents don’t need the most advanced technology.
“We’re just begging to be able to make a phone call. It’s not a lot to ask.”
BellMTS is ending its CDMA service this month causing many rural residents to worry about their safety.
“We’re now starting a whole new seeding season in our rural area and there is going to be a lot of equipment on the move and a lot of people on the roads. There’s always the potential for things to be happening. And just so everyone knows, everyone north of Sifton won’t be able to communicate with each other.”
She expected the service to stop at the end of April. But yesterday morning she found out she could not make a call or send a text. Even with a good cell connection, she was directed to a voice messaging system with BellMTS saying service was ending.
She continued, “it’s been the feeling of loss about it. I was never one to be on the phone that much. It was just a flip phone. But when I go out and I’m driving, I know that if there was some kind of crisis and I hit a ditch or if I came across someone having a medical emergency that there is no one to call.”
CDMA services in Manitoba are expected to be fully turned off on April 30th. The company has been sending replacement phones, they say will work with the new technology.
DeVos says farmers and those in the small communities rely on cell phones for their businesses. “It’s sort of making us second class citizens.”
We reached out to BellMTS, and they say their CDMA network coverage did not formally extend to Mossey River. A spokesperson says it’s possible signals could be picked up in the area.
The company is also expanding its wireless services as part of their $1 billion investment plan for the province. But they do not have any announcements right now about expanding services in that particular area.