Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
AT&T's new Hoodland cell tower has improved 4G coverage on Mount Hood, but it won't improve the AT&T situation at Mt. Hood Meadows.
The new tower is located on Hoodland Fire District property on Highway 26, and it definitely fills in some of the dead zones that plague 26 between Rhododendron and Government Camp. That should make it easier for people to call in accidents in winter driving conditions. It should also improve AT&T 4G connections at Skibowl and Timberline.
But it will not fix the AT&T problem at Meadows. Meadows regulars have complained for years about the spotty AT&T coverage, and plenty of people have made the switch from AT&T to Verizon for that exact reason.
"We continue to tell AT&T how important it is, and our guests continue to tell AT&T how important it is," Meadows spokesman Dave Tragethon told Shred Hood. "But AT&T apparently has other priorities."
Good cellular coverage on the mountain becomes a bigger deal every year, as smart phones grow ever more commonplace and useful on the road, on lifts and trails, and in the backcountry. Skiers and riders use their phones to call in traffic accidents, to hook up with friends for lunch, to shoot pics and videos, and to track everything from vertical feet to speed to aerial rotation.
Even without decent AT&T cell coverage at Meadows, a new fiber optic line there should at least enable Meadows guests to find a Wi-Fi hotspot to jump online and check their e-mail and social media. Meadows, Timberline and Skibowl all improved their Wi-Fi connections for 2013-14.