A boost in mobile phone service is expected to help people working and living in rural areas of Fulton and Montgomery counties stay connected.
AT&T on Tuesday announced activation of two mobile broadband sites, adding coverage areas in both counties.
The development expands coverage in three specific areas: Fort Plain/Nelliston and St. Johnsville along the Thruway in Montgomery County and north of Amsterdam along state Route 30 in the town of Perth in Fulton County.
People with mobile devices in these areas should have greater access to the Web, experience faster downloads and be able to make use of the growing number of applications for smartphones, tablet computers and other devices, according to the company.
AT&T spokeswoman Ellen Webner said the upgraded service should feed the growing demand for speedier mobile access to email while also improving the basic talking people do on their cellphones.
A few years ago, texting and sending photographs was considered a “big breakthrough,” she said. Today, people are downloading reports, surfing the Internet, getting directions and making reservations on their mobile phones.
“Texting is still a big deal for customers, [but] they also love to do some other things, and that’s where the smartphones come into play — they really allow that broadband interface,” Webner said Tuesday.
Spotty broadband service has been an issue throughout upstate New York, and access on a mobile device helps people maintain important contacts and communication that’s not always done by voice, said Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County economic development and planning department.
“The business community and everybody that you’re dealing with almost expects an answer immediately to an email,” he said, adding that the same goes for the demand for more broadband availability to business parks.
“It’s one of the biggest requirements that a company’s looking for when they move into a park,” Rose said.
The ability to get work done on a mobile device while relaxing in the southern Adirondacks is a boon both for visitors and residents alike, said Wally Hart, president and CEO of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“It’s where the world is going. People want to be able to come here either on vacation or on business and be able to access the world. To increase that is just really beneficial to our entire region both for regional tourism and business,” he said.