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Providing cellular coverage across the country is big business. If cell providers want to be able to claim they have 99% or more coverage of Americans, they need to put up a lot of cell towers. Covering most of the country's population is easy. Just plop a few towers down around the major cities and you'll have the majority of the population. The difficulty is in covering the last few percent who often live on isolated farms or in rugged terrain.
It's not always possible to drive in with heavy equipment to setup or perform maintenance on a tower when there are no roads for miles around. U.S Cellular has found an innovative yet old fashioned solution to this problem. In an interview with NPR, horse owner Jason Julian describes how he uses ancient technology to help maintain cutting edge cellular networks.
Julian's draft horses are used to pulling thousand pound loads around the muddy countryside so hauling antennas around is "a cakewalk for them." He and his horses meet up with the equipment vendors who drop of the antennas or other gear at the nearest accessible road. It's then attached to a sled and pulled by horses the remaining distance to the tower where crews can then install the equipment.
The logistics team finds it pretty ironic that with all of their cutting edge equipment and beefed up delivery trucks, the humble horse remains essential for the upgrade. The team is pleased with the work they do and will likely hire them in the future "the next time modern vehicles fail to get the job done."
Lead photo credit - Ann-Elise Henzl/WUWM