54-year-old Bess Ratre, a writer and volunteer emergency medical technician, grew up in East Hampton and now lives near the village’s main business district. Ms. Ratre’s cellphone often fails in her own home, forcing her to go to the front yard.
Sometimes, she said, her phone would simply say “unavailable”, which usually happens when “a lot of people” in the area are using cellphones. “That’s bananas in this day and age,” she said. “In this incredibly rich region, and so close to the largest metropolitan area in the country.”
Hampton’s lack of reliable service, she said, also presents a real security threat. “We all know, in emergency services, that there are places where radios and cellphones can’t work,” she said. “You get off the road in one of those places and you’re out of luck.”
Although some tourists may enjoy being unattainable, for others it is a matter of productivity. Nicole Castillo, 46, executive vice president of public relations firm Wordhampton, estimates that 30 percent of her jobs take place outside the office.
Ms. Castillo lives and works in the Springs neighborhood and she said she is often communicating with customers. “On weekends, even getting a lesson is super-challenging,” she said. In her office, her cell reception doesn’t really work at all, and the company has to buy boosters.
Tech Company Improv, Inc. The founder and CEO of 38-year-old Michael Schwarz moved to East Hampton from New York City with his girlfriend last June. Mr. Schwarz was aware of the welcoming reputation of his new hometown. “I think: how bad can it be?” he said. Then, what he referred to as the “toxic combination” of unreliable internet and “none” cell service proved to be very poor indeed.