Live Chat Wednesday 1 p.m. ET: Who’s Responsible for Cell Tower Deaths?


May 22, 2012

Over the last decade, the tower climbers who are building and servicing America’s rapidly growing cellular infrastructure have been dying on the job at an alarming rate. — roughly 10 times that of construction workers.

The giant cell phone carriers’ connection to tower-climbing deaths has remained invisible. Some have outsourced this dangerous work to smaller subcontracting companies, shielding themselves from liability when something goes wrong.

So is anyone being held responsible? What’s the best way to make the industry safer? And what about the role of the workers — what is it actually like to do this work, and why do tower climbers take such risks?

We’ve asked two of the film’s reporters, FRONTLINE’s Ryan Knutson and ProPublica’s Liz Day, as well as former tower climber Wally Reardon, project manager for the Tower Climber Protection project, to discuss these questions and take yours.

They’ll also be joined by guest questioner Ben Drawbaugh, a reporter and editor at Engadget covering consumer electronics.

You can leave a question in the chat window below, and come by at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 23rd to join the live discussion.

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

A Consequential Supreme Court Term, Decades in the Making
For context on the historic U.S. Supreme Court term that ended June 30 — and several of its monumental decisions — revisit past FRONTLINE documentaries on how conservatives gained a court majority, as well as on abortion, guns, the environment and more.
July 6, 2022
Mass Shootings, a Supreme Court Ruling, Bipartisan Legislation: How America Reached This Moment on Guns
FRONTLINE has been chronicling America’s dialogue on guns for years. Get the backstory on the recent news in these documentaries.
June 29, 2022
The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022