Everyone in Concord is familiar with cellular dead spots – those places in town where their mobile phone just won’t work. In Concord Center, smartphone users might have better luck with a length of twine and a couple of Dixie cups.
But take heart: Change is likely on the way – at least in the center.
According to Select Board Chair Henry Dane, the Trinitarian Congregational Church on Walden Street is in talks with Verizon to install a cellular antenna in the church steeple.
“It’s a disgrace that cell service is so poor in a town that is so sophisticated and so electronic,” Dane said. “That this has been tolerated for so long is hard to understand. But the reason is in many cases, wherever you want to put it, there’s some reason [someone feels] it shouldn’t go there.”
Deputy Town Manager Megan Zammuto said the town has been monitoring the ongoing talks between Verizon and the church. There was a Sprint antenna in the steeple until late 2022. When that equipment was taken out, it created room for the Verizon equipment.
“Both the town and Verizon are aware of and have been trying to address the significant gap in coverage downtown,” Zammuto wrote in an email. “A Verizon cell installation at the TriCon church will fill that significant gap in coverage.”
The work isn’t quick. Depending on permitting and construction, it could be six months to a year before local Verizon users see the change, Zammuto said.
Efforts to reach Verizon for a more precise timeline were unsuccessful.
Right now, the town is working on a comprehensive list of area cell towers, providers and coverage, giving residents a better handle on what is available and where. There will also be a listening session held in the future, which will give residents a chance to discuss Concord cell tower locations and service.
According to cellstatus.com, four major carriers — Verizon, Sprint, At&T and T-Mobile — manage to cover more than 90 percent of Massachusetts. There are several smaller carriers as well. Per the site, the most coverage is provided by AT&T, at close to 100 percent. Verizon is third with 97 percent coverage.
The majority of the towns listed as having the poorest coverage are in western Massachusetts.
Celeste Katz Marston contributed to this report.