No bars, no deal

BRIDGEPORT, Ala. - Leon Dave says the owners of a shoe store and motorcycle shop both liked the idea of opening stores in his small North Alabama town.

That is, until they looked at their cell phones and decided that no bars meant no deal.

"They found out we didn't have any service, so they went somewhere else," said Dave, a city councilman in Bridgeport. "We feel like we're getting left out."

Dave and other city leaders say Bridgeport's economic development is falling behind simply because it's tough to find a solid cell signal around town.

Councilman Barry Hughes said there are 15 or 20 spots around Bridgeport where signals are strong, but cell phones don't work in 80 percent of the town.

"It's a real problem for us here," he said.