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      Keweenaw County residents react to landline legislation

      Cell tower near Eagle Harbor, Michigan

      Recent talks in Lansing regarding the end of landline phone service have some Keweenaw County residents concerned.

      â??Thereâ??s large pockets of the county that have no cell service at all, particularly on the north end of the county where itâ??s sparsely populated, but yet there are people up there, a lot of tourists up there,â?? said Keweenaw County Sheriff, Ronald Lahti. â??So, thatâ??s become a problem for us.â??

      It may only be called, 'home' by about 2,200 people, but the approximately 300-square-mile county only has three cell towers.

      Residents have expressed if one has ever tried to make a cell call in the county, itâ??s not guaranteed there will be a signal.

      Many residents in the northern most part of Keweenaw County said they donâ??t think itâ??s feasible right now to end landlines. They said they face frequent power outages, and landlines are the only things that they can use in that event.

      They said, however, if more cell towers are installed in the county, it would be beneficial, but they wonder when that would happen.

      â??We donâ??t have cell service, so we still rely a lot on landline use,â?? said Copper Harbor resident, Ron Corey. â??Until we have cell service up here, itâ??s almost a necessity to have a landline service.â??

      Many business owners in Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor said they just donâ??t think the countyâ??s terrain will make cell service accessible to everyone, even with additional towers installed.

      Just the same, many public safety workers and medical first responders are concerned people wonâ??t be able to dial into 9-1-1 consistently without a landline.

      â??It doesnâ??t do us a lot of good to have the people and the equipment to do the job if you canâ??t get a call in if you need help,â?? said Lahti.

      Portions of the bill do allow for phone service providers to ensure customers have reliable service and access to emergency personnel.

      If Governor Rick Snyder passes the legislation, it wouldnâ??t take effect until 2017.

      â??I see it as a necessary thing because technology has moved on beyond landlines,â?? said Lahti. â??Itâ??s going to be something to get used to. Itâ??s going to be, I would imagine, down the road, better for us, but as with anything new, itâ??s going to be difficult in the beginning.â??