New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer announced a requests for proposals for a couple of cell phone towers in the Hockessin and Middletown areas.
Hockessin, a hilly and heavily wooded area west of Wilmington, has struggled with cell phone service over the years. The sprawling Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area also has its share of areas with spotty reception.
Cell phone reception became an issue during the Covid-19 pandemic when families found a lack of broadband access and spotty reception made distance home learning more difficult. New Castle County rolled out WiFi service outside its libraries to aid students and parents.
A full video of the announcement is below:
The proposed towers would be financed with American Rescue Plan Act funds at a cost of $1.3 million.
The State of Delaware has its own broadband program that uses federal funds to expand current broadband cable systems to areas where it is not profitable for carriers to expand service.
It is likely that a few hard-to-reach areas will need high speed wireless broadband service.
County involvement in cell phone reception is not a new topic, with a 2011 report calling for an involvement in the issue.
Delaware has among the highest average internet speeds in the nation and sometimes ranks at the top. However, it also has “broadband deserts.”
The cell phone initiative comes after Meyer has announced a bid for governor in 2024. Current Gov. John Carney is term limited.