Have you ever thought "Is it just me, or is cell phone reception getting worse?" You're not alone, and your suspicions are spot-on: cell phone reception *is* getting worse here in New York state.

But it's not just us. Recent data reveals a nationwide surge in service woes, hitting a peak here in Upstate New York. According to a deep dive done by Time, between April and June of 2023, U.S. cellphone users reported an 11% failure rate when attempting data, text, or calls—that's up from 9% in 2020 and 2021. All major carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, witnessed a decline in service quality during the same period.


The core of the problem lies with the complicated dance of electromagnetic radio waves. While many new phones promise faster signals, they still struggle with obstacles like buildings and trees, which poses a problem in both major metropolitan areas and wooded areas like the Adirondacks.

As demand for cell service soars, the limited available spectrum becomes a battleground. Wireless companies need more towers to ease congestion, yet locals often resist them being built. How many times have you seen a community rally behind a petition to stop the construction of a new cell tower? Well, guess what: those new cell towers are a necessary evil if we want better service.


Unless we can get more people on board for the construction of new towers, it seems like we can expect these problems to continue. In the meantime, however, experts suggest using Wi-Fi when possible to alleviate strain on wireless networks.

And hey... there's always smoke signals, right?


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