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Verizon, AT&T provided cell towers for McCain ranch

According to a fantastically interesting investigation by the Washington Post, John and Cindy McCain had Verizon Wireless and AT&T install cell phone towers on their personal property so that they could get better reception.Yes, hello, John?
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Written by Andrew Nusca, Former editor on

According to a fantastically interesting investigation by the Washington Post, John and Cindy McCain had Verizon Wireless and AT&T install cell phone towers on their personal property so that they could get better reception.

Yes, hello, John? Can you hear me now?

Good old WashPo reports:

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem - the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be "an inappropriate way" to build its network. "It doesn't make business sense for us to do that," he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a "cell site on wheels" - free of charge - to the McCain property in June, after the Secret Service began inquiring about improving coverage in the area. Such devices are used for providing temporary capacity where coverage is lacking or has been knocked out, in circumstances ranging from the Super Bowl to hurricanes.

In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon's offer.

While it makes sense for a presidential candidate to need phone service -- even if he lives out in Arizona -- I'm not so sure the "free" thing plays out in the campaign's favor (much less the idea that the Secret Service inquired on his behalf). Ethically speaking, it should be noted that McCain is a senior member of the Senate commerce committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He's also got several campaign staffers registered as AT&T lobbyists.

So where's the equality? I'll be waiting for that answer, arms crossed, until they install a T-Mobile tower in my apartment, where I have no service.

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