TUSCUMBIA - According to District 18 State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, between now and Nov. 26, 2018, “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) publishes maps for each state that clearly shows the areas that do not have cell phone service. We have an opportunity to correct these maps by proving to the FCC that the maps are incorrect.”
Morrow is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 10:30 a.m. to explain the procedure that cell phone users must follow if they want new cell phone coverage in Northwest Alabama.
The meeting will be held at the Round House, located at 204 W. 5th Street in Tuscumbia.
Attending will be Brandon Presley, chairman of the Mississippi Public Service Commission. During this meeting, Presley will be explaining the procedure that must be followed to receive new cell phone coverage in Northwest Alabama.
The state representative noted that he recently visited with Presley at his office in Nettleton, Miss. “When I arrived I found that his entire staff was extremely busy working on a project that was designed to disprove the FCC maps for northern Mississippi,” Morrow said.
According to Morrow, when anyone pays their telephone bill (cell or landline), $1.50 is paid each month into what’s called Universal Service Fund.
Morrow explained, “This fund was created to make money available to providers to fund improvements in communications to their customers. It was originally used to run the copper telephone lines that were attached to the poles to our homes and businesses.
“Today this money may be used to construct cell phone towers to serve areas that do not have cell phone service.”
Continuing, Morrow explained, “The FCC publishes maps for each state that clearly shows the areas that do not have cell phone service. For example, according to the map Colbert County has complete, cell phone coverage except for one small area located near the Franklin County line.
“We all know that this is not true, but what we know is not important. We have to disprove the map. When I travel Highway 247, I have almost no cell phone service the entire trip.”
Even though the FCC maps are inaccurate, they are considered factual in providing the funding to the providers for the construction of new cell phone towers. The area on Highway 247 would not qualify for a grant to construct a new cell phone tower because the map clearly says that this area is already served.
Between now and Nov. 26, 2018, Morrow said “we have an opportunity to correct these maps by proving to FCC that the maps are incorrect.”
Morrow stressed, “I want to encourage volunteer fire department and rescue squad members, law enforcement officials, ALFA board members, education leaders, county commissioners, other elected officials, county Cooperative Extension employees, other public officials and employees and concerned citizens of Northwest Alabama to attend this extremely important meeting.”
The deadline for getting all the information to the FCC is Nov. 26. “We must mobilize immediately if we are to meet this deadline!” Morrow concluded.
See complete story in the Journal Record.