6 The Grid Is Winning

This rural community may finally get cell service. But residents aren't sure they want it

Matt Slaby / Luceo for TIME

Lohua Odekirk, owner of Rainbow Zen Tea House. Hot Springs, Montana.

Finding a bar in hot Springs, Mont., is easy: there's Fergie's Pub, right there on Main Street. Finding a bar on your phone is another matter. Hot Springs has no cell-phone service. The closest spot for a decent signal is 15 or 20 miles away, depending on whom you ask and which way they're headed.

Whether that needs to change is an argument that has divided this town's 544 residents. Their debate distills all our ambivalence about our hyperconnected age to one question: Do we really want a cell-phone tower here?

Until recently, the question was moot. Rustic places like Hot...

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