The Truth About The Town Where Cell Phones Are Illegal

Imagine a world without cell phones. It's hard for most people, since cell phones are so ingrained into everyday life. However, if you lived in Green Bank, West Virginia, you wouldn't be able to text anyone, let alone take social media photos. That's because Green Bank is at the center of an area designated as a no-radio zone, called the National Radio Quiet Zone, the Observer writes. The town hosts the Green Bank Observatory, with large radio telescopes pointed up to the sky, and most radio waves including cell phones, Wi-Fi signals, and even microwaves could interfere with the telescope's performance. 

The facility, previously called the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, began in 1956. Two years later, the Federal Communications Commission established the quiet zone. The New York Times reports that the observatory tunes into "frequencies from the lowest to the highest ends of the spectrum," and the telescopes are capable of listening in on the terrifying mysteries of deep spaces, but because these can hear a dying star, they're also incredibly sensitive to sounds produced by radio waves. Still, according to NPR, the town is not fully silent. Emergency communications and ham radios are allowed. Residents also have dial-up telephones. A public radio station, Allegheny Mountain Radio, is allowed to broadcast, since its frequency is low enough that it doesn't bother the observatory.

With a total ban on cell phones and Wi-Fi, though, life in Green Bank is wildly different from the rest of the country.

Move here if you really want to get away from it all

Growing up in Green Bank means you don't get used to cell phone culture. According to The Observer, kids around Green Bank can't connect their iPads to the internet, and if they live within ten miles of the observatory, they can't own these devices at all. They don't grow up hearing incessant pings and dings of notifications, and they don't get used to looking at their cell phones every second.

Green Bank's ban on radio signals attracts people tired of our connected world. People who suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, or EHS, claim exposure to electromagnetic fields caused by cell phones or radio signals give them headaches or chronic pain. To feel better, some of these folks move to Green Bank, per the BBC. Medical organizations, however, do not formally recognize EHS, though there are many questions about what happens to your body when you're constantly on your cell phone.

It's hard to imagine these days how to live a life not connected to the internet 24/7. But if you're tired of your friends constantly messaging you, then maybe move to Green Bank, and use that as your excuse for not texting back.