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Broadband issues angering rural Kansas residents

Apr 03, 2019

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Rural Kansas residents are angered by bad cellphone connection in Conway Springs due to only one service provider working in the area.

“It’s kind of a monopoly as far as the cellphone service goes,” said Clay Murphy, superintendent of Conway Springs schools.

A map released by Gov. Laura Kelly showed the broadband connection throughout the state of Kansas. In rural Kansas areas it was the lowest, including Conway Springs.

“Even the one’s that have the carrier depending on where you’re at in town or on the edge of town, you can’t get service,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, since no other service provider’s connection works in there town, it makes it hard for the residents to have any selection.

“Individuals, as far as finding carriers and finding the right deals and affordability, it gets tough,” he said.

There is a telephone company in Conway Springs that provides land lines for downtown businesses. However, the city treasurer and deputy clerk of the town said she doesn’t like that company much either because of their poor quality of service.

“A lot of static sometimes,” said Gala Mies. “And I know they have issues, and right now we’re putting in a water system and they do hit some of the lines that are buried and what not and so they have to fix those.”

She said the bad service of cellphones may be affecting first responders in the area as well, and their communication with hospitals that may not be near the town. The contractors who lay those water lines Mies mentioned also said they have trouble with connection when they are on work sites.

“We’ve had multiple jobs here in Kansas that we’ve had to switch phones, carry more than one phone at the same time,” said Andy Jones, a foreman for the contractor.

He said if an emergency happens on one of their sites, the bad cellphone service may cause issues.

“If there’s an emergency on the job, across town even, and you need to get a hold of somebody you basically have to drive and talk to them instead of calling them,” he said. “You’re not just a number away.”

Gov. Kelly has asked for the public’s input on the matter. The public can go to to let their thoughts be heard.

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