Scranton, PA - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is announcing the completion of a project to provide cellular service in Bedford County via Hyndman Cellular Tower, ensuring that thousands of Bedford County residents have reliable service. After train derailments and feedback from local and state first responders highlighted the urgent need for better emergency response telecommunications, Senator Casey advocated for AT&T to prioritize rural areas like Hyndman for First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) tower sites.
“I am thrilled that Hyndman tower is up and running. I strongly advocated for this project for more than two years because the people of Bedford County deserve access to strong and reliable cell service. It is vital that our first responders have fast, reliable and dedicated coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents and connect to the vital information they need–every day and in every emergency,” said Senator Casey.
In 2017, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in the town of Hyndman, Pennsylvania, forcing 900 residents to evacuate for three days. The evacuation and emergency response were hindered, as the area was a dead zone. In April 2018, Senator Casey wrote to AT&T asking that they prioritize rural areas like Hyndman for FirstNet tower sites. FirstNet, established through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, authorized a public-private partnership to build a nationwide public safety broadband network, with the goal of creating a national communications network for first responders. Residents in these areas will also gain access to these networks. Due to Senator Casey’s advocacy, AT&T decided to install a tower at Hyndman, leading to the completion of the project.
March 2017: FirstNet awarded a twenty five-year, $6.5 billion contract to AT&T to build and maintain the nationwide network for public safety.
August 2017: Thirty-two freight train cars carrying hazardous materials derailed in the town of Hyndman. A propane tank car caught fire, forcing the residents to evacuate for three days. Shortly after, Senator Casey visited Hyndman.
September 2017: FirstNet/AT&T presented states with plans detailing how the network would be deployed in each state.
December 2017: Nine freight cars drove off the tracks a few miles south of Hyndman.
April 2018: Senator Casey wrote to AT&T, asking that they prioritize rural areas like Hyndman for FirstNet tower sites.
May 2018 – October 2020: Senator Casey and senior staff remained in routine communication with AT&T on the development of the tower.
October 2020: Representatives from AT&T announced that the cell tower in Hyndman is now active and available to thousands of residents.