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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2004
CONTACT: Christine Hibbeler (605) 773-3201

Improved Cell Phone Service Comes to West River SD

West River South Dakota will see improved cellular phone service thanks to seven new Cellular One towers located near Hermosa, Mud Butte, Hayes, White River, Mission, Burke and Fairfax.

"The new towers will bring state-of-the-art wireless technology to these communities and to the people who travel and do business throughout this region," said PUC Chairman Bob Sahr. "This is a continuation of the successful wireless build-out we've seen in 2004 and expect to continue in 2005."

"The construction of these additional cell sites, which are located in some of the most rural areas of the state, is further testament to Cellular One's commitment to serve the wireless telecommunications needs of South Dakota's rural consumers," said Gene DeJordy, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Western Wireless Corporation, d/b/a Cellular One. "Yet, this would not have been possible without the foresight and action taken by the Commission to create an environment in South Dakota that enables consumers to realize the benefits of a competitive local telecommunications market, such as access to new technologies, more universal services, and rural economic development."

"We are delighted with the response from Cellular One. Cell phones have become a necessity of life. Rural economic development, better jobs and our families' health and safety are directly affected by the availability of dependable cell service," said PUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "Because cell service is so important, the PUC is continually working towards more successful development of wireless infrastructure across the state."

Commissioner Jim Burg says he's pleased to see rural South Dakotans get the benefits of wireless service: "People throughout the state want this technology, and it really can have a positive impact on small-town life."