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Yellowstone National Park upgrading telecommunications systems

elk plaza tower yellowstone park.jpg
Jacob W. Frank
The Elk Plaza tower seen from Capitol Hill.

A plan to improve cell phone and internet service in Yellowstone National Park is moving forward.

The National Park Service found that a proposal to improve telecommunications infrastructure in Yellowstone does not pose significant environmental impacts.

Yellowstone’s Branch Chief of Technology Bret De Young says more than 180 miles of fiber optic cable will be installed in already developed areas of the park. Currently, around 8% of the park is covered by cellular service.

“It doesn’t change the footprint. There’s not more coverage by any means. That’ll stay the same," he said. "This doesn’t include any new cell towers, either. That would all stay the same, it’d just work better."

De Young says upgrades are needed to better support park operations and emergency services. The park is currently reviewing a right of way permit from the applicant. If approved, the telecommunications project would begin in the spring of next year.