We implied in a recent post that Alltel was ignoring their acquired territory in their westernmost markets. Since then we have been informed that improvements are being made to their Idaho infrastructure and that they are pursuing some new public benefits. Alltel makes a convincing argument that they can serve rural areas of the state better than the local wireline companies who refuse to serve places that are too expensive to string wire.
These are really rural areas, but Alltel's sister company, Commnet, specializes in off-the-beaten-path locations. These rural areas are served by telephone co-ops with neighbors helping each other get their phones to work, but now not so much. There was a time when the co-op would use whatever means available, even a fence line, to deliver calls to widely separated homes, but can no longer do that with increasing needs for broadband and sophisticated features. It's where wireless really shines.
Alltel's parent, Atlantic Tele-Network, has taken pride in the fact that they serve so many locations in the Americas, including an increasing number of states in the US. Idaho is not an insignificant step toward the Pacific. It may be hard for city folk to believe there is a significant number of locations where cellular is the only communications available, including broadband. Think about that on your next fishing or camping trip. It's good to know Alltel is there, whether Chad appears or not, and any improvements will make life better for all of us.