HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Many cellular users across the country have experienced dead spots, dropped calls and broken cellular connections at some point in their lives. However, for Verizon users in Hanover County, those frustrations have been rampant since 2020. Residents, the local government and Verizon Wireless representatives met in the county on Monday, May 15 to discuss the worsening problem.

Fonjenik Turner is just one of the more than 400 Hanover County residents who’s vocalized concerns.

“[Coverage is] sporadic at best,” Turner said.

Turner is a healthcare worker who works from home.

“We are in a day and age where technology is at the crux of our lives,” Turner said. “We all depend on technology.”

The issues began after a local cell tower by New Highland Baptist Church burned down in 2020. The tower’s replacement caused some trouble.

“Once we got the new tower back, our service actually got much worse as people working from home, like myself, were not able to make or receive phone calls,” Turner said.

Turner called Verizon representatives for help multiple times, but she said she never received real answers.

“I got a different story every time, ‘You need a new phone, you need an extender. There’s nothing we can do,'” she recalled.

This widespread trouble prompted more than 400 community members — and the local government — to join Turner in the fight to catch Verizon’s attention.

“It wasn’t just my phone,” Turner said. “It was a bigger issue.”

At Monday’s aforementioned meeting, the telecommunications company chalked the problem up to large clusters of network extenders and metal mesh installed near the tower to keep birds out. The mesh is now gone and Verizon said the company is working to get signals pointed in the optimal direction. Residents are still skeptical. Some wonder how such a long-term problem could be solved so easily and why it wasn’t addressed sooner.

“I personally am just a little hesitant,” Turner said. “But I want to think the best.”

Verizon representatives said the company hopes to have the issue improved by the end of May, but some residents raised an additional concern. They told 8News that they feel it’s unfair they’ve been paying for a service they haven’t been able to use. Residents are eager to see if Verizon will consider any retroactive compensation to impacted areas.