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Posted Sep 19, 2012
Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

I've heard talk about how ATT is "working on their network coverage" and plans to provide 3G service in Northeast MI "in the coming months".  Well, now that another 2 year contract has expired, I'm seriously wondering if I would be better off jumping to Verizon.  The EDGE data network up here if virtually useless.  5 full bars, yet extremely poor data transfer.  

 

Can anyone provide an HONEST answer as to when this coverage is planned to be upgraded???  Verizon has had 3G for quite a long while up here...

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Oct 3, 2013
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Ok, lets start hearing some news about the western side...Ontonagon, Rockland, Bruce Crossing, Bergland...

Oh and my place is served by the Rockland tower, so, lets get a move on it!  haha

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 3, 2013
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From what I heard the end of this month is the target date for all the towers in Michigan to have 3G overlay, with the exception of some towers that will take longer because of various issues. If the tower in Rockland has broadband antennas on it.....it will be very soon. Still waiting for the updated coverage map.

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Oct 8, 2013
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I dont know if this is related to the Lathrop tower or not but, along M-35 between Rock and Perkins there are little orange and yellow flags on the side of the road, and some wording written on the ground with orange spray paint. Could they be getting ready to lay fiber?

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Oct 8, 2013
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It is hard to say but with it being this late in the season there is a very good chance that is the case. In northern lower MI they marked along M-33 the same way from M-55 through Mio when they layed new fiber. If that's what they are going to do there, they will be hitting it hard before the deep freeze so you should start seeing trenchers and small back hoes and of course.....big beautiful rolls of orange fiber!:smileyhappy:

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Oct 8, 2013
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Looks like they are laying fiber! Just drove by and saw a big roll of orange!

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Oct 9, 2013
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Those orange rolls are underground conduit, not the actual fiber optic cabling. Nonetheless, if you see that, it's a good sign. Keep in mind that there is a ton of underground contractors finishing up on last mile work for the Reach-3MC Merit Fiber Project. There was a ton of that orange conduit all over the place in Presque Isle county in the past month, but it was all last mile work for Merit.

 

AT&T has historically used Frontier in all of NE MI for backhaul. If they have one or multiple T1's at a site, it probably feeds off a nearby fiber distribution line  (usually within 2-3 miles). In this case, they already ran conduit for the T1's. All the sites in PI county and Cheboygan didn't require Frontier to trench any new fiber. They just blew it through the existing conduit. I talked with the Frontier crew that blew the fiber backhaul for AT&T sites in PI county and they just finished doing Cheboygan in June. He said 95% of all the sites didn't need trenching at all. So some of those AT&T sites could already have fiber backhaul in place. The crew near Rogers City pulled fiber out to the Moltke site from the CO in downtown RC (6 miles away) in about 2 hours. Keep in mind this Moltke site is in the middle of no-where and had conduit already ran to it from years before. Once that was done, it was virtually undetectable that any new work had been done, unless you had inside info. 

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Oct 10, 2013
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There are two towers near my house in close proximity to M-53 that had new fiber ran to them back in the spring of 2011 prior to Verizon's LTE expansion and when AT&T fired up HSPA+. For what ever reason, they trenched a new  line to the towers rather than running them through the existing conduit. Maybe the original conduit was too small ??

 

Drove by the one tower today on 34 Mile road and M-53 and was delightfully surprised to see activity. The top set of panels are Verizon and the bottom set clearly shows AT&T has installed new, longer LTE panels (possibly AWS?).

 

Screenshot_2013-10-10-16-09-50.png

 

Picture was taken through the windshield doing 45 MPH so its not very clear. 

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Oct 13, 2013
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Oh ok, I guess I was mistaken then.

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Oct 13, 2013
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Hi American Ninja

 

Have you had a chance to see if AT&T has done any work on the Lathrop tower or progress along 35?  It should be anytime now for the new panels and hardware installation at the site:smileyhappy::smileyhappy: 

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Oct 14, 2013
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I havent checked but, my friend drove by a couple weeks ago and took a picture. There was no change then.

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Oct 14, 2013
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My friend knows the guy who has the tower on his property in Lathrop, and he said no activity on the tower yet but he has saw them running cable to the tower.

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Oct 14, 2013
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That is a very good sign. The western U.P. is the largest area of EDGE left in Michigan to upgrade so it shouldnt be long now. Funny thing is over the weekend I took the SIM card out of my AT&T 4G hotspot and put it in my Verizon HTC Droid DNA (factory unlocked) and it worked Lol. Had to set the APN but I was on AT&T's blazing fast HSPA+ network with a Verizon phone. Anyway the point is I locked the phone in GSM(EDGE) and speed tests were a consistant 180-220 Kbps here at my house!!! I wonder why they never upgraded northern MI to EDGE Class 10 years ago? They are ramping up tower upgrades all across MI so by next year they should be right there with Big Red especially after they start their tower "densification". :smileyhappy:

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Oct 16, 2013
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I think I found the source of that low 4G signal I've been getting. Acorrding to the coverage map it looks like Little Lake has 4G now. I might be picking up the end of that signal.

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Oct 20, 2013
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Checked out the Lathrop tower today. still no antennas but they are running that orange conduit to the tower. I took some pics:

 

1

 

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Oct 21, 2013
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Excellent. They are obviously in the area getting those towers ready to fire up. It definitely won't be long before the tower climbers install the panels, crews finish installing the hardware at the shelter, and within a few weeks (or sooner) after completion they light up UMTS/3G :smileyhappy:
This past weekend in Lewiston, I checked service on my Mifi hotspot and it was indicating consistant HSPA+ (3 weeks ago it was UMTS) and the speed test site I was running showed that the network capacity on the site was at 25 Mbps. Although speed test results in town were only running a max of 5 Mbps, it is safe to say the tower in Lewiston has fiber backhaul and probably just needs a software update at the tower to unleash the max HSPA+ speeds.

Lovells tower update:
It doesn't appear that any upgrades have been done on the tower yet, but it appears that Frontier is making their way down F-97 for fiber backhaul. The Orange conduit has been buried along 97 from Old State road to an intersection where a new concrete slab has been poured and prepped for a new switch box. Progress has been made and they are now about 4 miles away from the tower. Hopefully the weather will hold out long enough for them to finish.

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Oct 25, 2013
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It looks like they are startting to run the cable. I saw a spool of cable coming down from a telephone poll. I know charter internet runs along the highway on the poles, so they must be tapping into charters line for the fiber?

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Oct 25, 2013
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American Ninja,

 

Quite possibly and I am betting that Lathrop will be lit up within 2-3 weeks:smileyhappy::smileyhappy:  My source did say that all towers in will be upgraded by the end of November...except for a handful of stragglers. There's already several towers that were very recently upgraded to 3G, that have been tuned up with HSPA+ ( Ironwood, Posen, West Branch, Houghton Lake, and St. Helen)  It won't be long now before the dredded "E" makes way for "4G"

 

  If you get a chance, would you see if you can dial into FieldTest mode on your iPhone. Guys are doing this on another thread with their iPhones(on Verizon) to check Frequency Band Indicator and Download/Upload Bandwidth (carrier size in MHz...5/10/20 etc.).   This can be done by dialing *3001#12345#*  then going to Serving Cell  and wait for the list to populate. I don't know if AT&T allows this access but I am curious to see what results you get. I have an Android so I cannot utilize the code.

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Oct 28, 2013
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I tried that and it doesnt show anything for "Serving Cell".

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Oct 29, 2013
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will be nice when the actual coverage matches what the coverage map shows. 

As I posted awhile ago (been way too busy), I had HSPA at my daughter's soccer game near Ford Airport in Kingsford.

 

That was the one and only time.

For the past few weeks, the coverage map has shown 3g in Iron Mountain/Kingsford. Nothing yet. Haven't seen trucks or anyone working.

 

I had a booth at a semi-local gun/knife show in Goodman, Wisconsin this past weekend and had hspa. Goodman, Wisconsin has about 12 people in it.

 

This is getting ignorant because EDGE is like using a 14.4 baud modem.

 

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Oct 30, 2013
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Thanks for trying that code American Ninja. AT&T must have that network feature blocked. I am in Manistee this week and seen an AT&T truck with guys working on the pole yesterday. I thought all of northern MI was Frontier. Hmmm

c0n.... I would say those towers showing 3G now should light up soon. There have been a lot of anomalies with the coverage viewer lately including the "Voice" coverage map. That is the indicator for tower location but many tower locations aren't depicted properly. Have the cell sites by you been fitted with broadband panels yet? Pretty much all sites are supposed to have HSPA+ activated by years end.

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Oct 30, 2013
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AT&T is the ILEC for Manistee county. Frontier assets are mainly NE, mid-central, and SE MI. I've attached a little ILEC gem to this post :smileywink: good for cross checking when work to the lines is observed.

 

ILEC_MAP_2013.jpg

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Oct 31, 2013
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Nice map Tpeltz. Wow....I wouldn't have guessed it was divided up like that!!

I was keeping a close watch on my AT&T device during my travels hoping to find a pocket of new LTE but nothing yet.

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Oct 31, 2013
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Lewyman- I'll take a drive today and see.

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Nov 5, 2013
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Hopefully they're bringing it online soon. Was out with my wife for lunch today and kept cycling from E to 3G to H and then would settle on Edge.

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Nov 5, 2013
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They are testing and should be online very soon. Did you have full bars while it was switching on 3G? AT&T should be lighting up quite a few towers in the western U.P. very shortly.

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Nov 5, 2013
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Just looking at the coverage map and noticed one (of the two) towers on Beaver Island has 3G. Really??? Lol

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Nov 5, 2013
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This is a bit off topic but AT&T has fired up LTE in the Port Huron area. 

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Nov 18, 2013
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Well I stopped by the Lathrop tower today, about half way there I saw this on the side of the road:

 

IMG_0193.JPG

 

When I got to the tower there were a bunch of vehicles there. So they are working on it.

 

Link to bigger picture: http://i.imgur.com/KRqpFBV.jpg

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Nov 18, 2013
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Very Nice American Ninja!!!

 

It's probably a safe bet to say they are working on the backhaul to the Lathrop tower:smileyhappy:  If the crews have been working on the site, it will be lit up within two weeks at the most. They updated the coverage map and it shows several new towers with UMTS in the U.P. and one thats been upgraded to HSPA+.

Not all service may be active yet, as the map has been showing coverage before it is actually turned on. Real progress has been made which has been a long time coming! :smileyhappy:

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Nov 21, 2013
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Doesn't seem like too many people are too concerned, but keep an eye out for some new Sensorly mapping in the U.P. this weekend.

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