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Monday, June 14, 2021

Cell Service in the Hamptons is…Not Good

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Bess Rattray, 54, a writer and volunteer emergency medical technician, grew up in East Hampton and now lives near the village’s main business district. Ms. Rattray’s cellphone frequently fails in her own home, forcing her into the front yard.

Sometimes, she said, her phone will simply say “unavailable,” which typically occurs when there are “too many people using” cellphones in the area. “That’s bananas in this day and age,” she said. “In this incredibly wealthy area, and so close to the biggest metropolitan area in the country.”

The Hamptons’ lack of reliable service, she said, also presents a real safety hazard. “We all know, in the emergency services, there are places where radios and cellphones might not work,” she said. “You go off the road in one of those places and you’re sort of out of luck.”

Though some vacationers may relish being unreachable, for others it’s a matter of productivity. Nicole Castillo, 46, the executive vice president of WordHampton, a public relations firm, estimates that 30 percent of her job takes place outside of the office.

Ms. Castillo lives and works in the Springs neighborhood and said that she is often communicating with clients on the go. “On the weekend, it’s super-challenging to even get a text through,” she said. At her office, her cell reception doesn’t really work at all, and the company has had to buy boosters.

Michael Schwarz, 38, the founder and C.E.O. of the tech company Improove, Inc., moved with his girlfriend to East Hampton from New York City last June. Mr. Schwarz was aware of the reception reputation of his new hometown. “I figure: How bad can it be?” he said. Then, what he referred to as the “toxic combination” of unreliable internet and “nonexistent” cell service proved pretty bad, indeed.

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