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AT&T expands wireless internet in Vandalia

Posted on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

Shown, from left: Assistant City Administrator Debbie Hopke, Eastern District Commissioner Roger Young, Mayor Ramon Barnes, Rep. John Diehl, Speaker Elect Tim Jones, AT&T Missouri President John Sontag, Rep. Jeanie Riddle, City Administrator Alan Winders, Rep. Jay Houghton, and Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs.

AT&T launched a new internet cell site in Vandalia to buffer its wireless internet connectivity for area residents.
Missouri AT&T President John  Sontag and a slew of state executives met with Vandalia officials at the Heritage Café and Catering  Wednesday, August 1, to announce an expansion of wireless internet capabilities at the City of Vandalia.
Missouri Speaker Elect Tim Jones,  State Reps. John Diehl, Jeanie Riddle and Jay Houghton, Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs, and Eastern District Commissioner Roger Young were in town for the announcement.
“We have opened up a new world of opportunity for our customers in Vandalia — and several other locations in Northeast Missouri — customers who will be surfing the web, accessing email, and updating social media pages at record speeds,” Sontag said.
He said the expansion will greatly help the needs of area farmers and ranchers, as well as benefit the region’s educational resources.
“This is exciting,” Mayor Ramon Barnes said. “And I appreciate what (AT&T) is doing.”
Speaker Elect Jones said the new wireless internet resources in Northeast Missouri will benefit the area by:
• Increasing potential regional investment.
• Increasing regional connectivity.
• Increasing regional growth.
Speaker Elect Jones said northeast Missouri will be among the principle benefactors of up-to-date technology.
AT&T based its decision to expand wireless internet capabilities in the region on recent trends.
For example, Sontag said the amount of data being transferred on the AT&T network has  increased by 20,000 percent over the last four years — increasing daily.
Yet while this increase will benefit Vandalia’s economy, Sontag said the growth also causes problems.
“Government and the wireless industry agree that more spectrum must be made available for wireless customers,” Sontag said.
The spectrum he referred to is the airwaves  allowing data to travel to and from mobile devices such as cell phones or computers.
Sontag said the spectrum is the “lifeblood” of mobile internet, and “the supply of the spectrum is not keeping up with consumer demand.”
“Additional spectrum is needed to ensure consumers will experience fewer dropped calls, faster downloads better service and competitive pricing in the years to come,” he said.
While AT&T doesn’t plan to expand it’s wired internet services into the region, Sontag said 4G is the next step for Vandalia, of which will be a competing force to the local internet provider.