Viewpoint: Improving cell phone service and avoiding the winter blues 

By Alf Anderson 

As the 2022 tourism season approaches, the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce continues to work to ensure that our community enjoys a safe and successful experience. Businesses and residents have both experienced more than their fair share of frustration with cellular phone service over the past several years. We all rely on cellular networks to keep in touch with friends, family, coworkers, employees, etc. Many small businesses rely on their smart devices for sales transactions, booking appointments, tracking inventory and much more. In recent years, as the weather would warm and our town would begin to welcome more visitors, the reliability of phone and data service would start to diminish. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

Members of the Chamber’s Business Roundtable have been in regular contact with regional representatives from AT&T and recently met with them for a discussion about preparations for the upcoming season. AT&T updated us on their plans for expanded and improved service in Bar Harbor, which I am happy to share. There are, of course, areas of the island outside of Bar Harbor that are being addressed, but our recent discussion was largely focused on the town of Bar Harbor. 

There are currently nine cellular sites on Mount Desert Island, with the most recent tower being installed in 2018. 

Last fall, repairs and enhancements were made to an existing location in the Bar Harbor gateway area, which should provide more reliable service to those on Route 3 just outside of the Bar Harbor village. 

Later this summer, a new antenna in Lamoine will begin delivering improved capacity to the head of the island. 

Small cells are to be installed atop utility poles in a variety of locations outside of Bar Harbor’s downtown area to further improve service capacity and reliability. These cells are expected to go live in 2023. 

This timeline may not be ideal for meeting all challenges, but it does exhibit AT&T’s understanding of the need for improvements, and we are happy to see them investing in our community. The Chamber will maintain contact with the team at AT&T and continue to push them to address our community’s need for improved cellular capacity and reliability. 

This has been a tough winter for many of us, with the frigid temperatures, continued COVID-19 challenges and difficult news from around the world. Having a thriving year-round community makes the long winter days more enjoyable and I am thankful for the businesses that keep their doors open year-round. These businesses allow us to live, shop, dine and play in the place we call home. Thank you to the owners and employees at the many year-round local businesses for being there for all of us this winter! 

Here’s to a few more weeks of cold temps and snowy fun! 


Alf Anderson is the executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, which is a membership organization representing nearly 400 businesses on Mount Desert Island and in its neighboring towns. 


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