It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago, I was totally anti-cellphone.

In fact, my parents basically forced me to carry one when I was in high school so they could check up on me whenever they felt like it. It was a huge burden, both physically (it was one of those old-school Nokias that looked more like a walkie-talkie than a cellphone) and socially (I was expected to call and report my every move so they knew where I was at all times).

Fast forward to college, where my phone became a lifeline that connected me to friends, family, classmates and roommates. Pretty soon, I felt naked without it. If I accidentally left it at home, I would spend the day feeling vulnerable and lost. What if something happened and I couldn’t call anybody? What would I do?

I often get that same feeling when I’m driving through one of Montana’s many “dead spots” — you know, the remote rural areas where cell service drops off. I always wonder what I would do if my car broke down in a place like that. Could it be that I might actually have to — gasp! — wait to flag down an actual person instead of calling AAA?

Well, according to a recent Missoulian article, there soon will be mobile phone and Internet coverage in more areas of western Montana, thanks to the activation of new cell towers in three locations: Condon, Huson and the Noxon Reservoir area.

The towers, which are operated by AT&T, will expand coverage along the section of Montana Highway 83 between Seeley Lake and Swan Lake; along Interstate 90 between Frenchtown and Alberton; and on Montana Highway 200 southwest of Kalispell.

That’s good news, not only for the residents of those areas, but also for passing motorists.

So for now, I will go ahead and keep AAA on speed dial.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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