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Senator pushes for cell coverage by winter

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by Blaise, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Blaise

    Blaise Junior Member Junior Member

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    PLATTSBURGH — Cell-phone service along a desolate stretch of the Northway must be in place before winter, Sen. Betty Little says.

    In a meeting with the Press-Republican Editorial Board, Little (R-Queensbury) said Verizon has lease arrangements for six towers to provide cell-phone service along Interstate 87.

    In an agreement reached with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and five environmental groups in April, Verizon plans to locate 11 cell-phone towers along the Northway to provide service in a 47-mile dead zone.

    Little said the company is not ready to submit an application to the Adirondack Park Agency, however. She said that if Verizon is unable to make an application to the APA by September, it will be time to try a different approach.

    “We can’t go through another winter without cell-phone coverage on the Northway. I don’t want to have to say again, ‘We’re working on it.’”


    PUSH FOR COWS

    The calls for cell-phone service along the Northway grew in volume after two people died in accidents last winter. Both occurred along a stretch of the Northway between exits 28 and 35 where cell-phone service is spotty or non-existent. In both cases, it was impossible to summon help by cell phone.

    One solution would be about three cell phone towers on wheels, known as COWS, that could be temporarily set up in rest areas along the Northway until a permanent system is in place. Little said she would push for use of the COWs if that’s what it will take to get cell service this winter.

    Spitzer said in March that COWs would be considered a permanent use under Adirondack Park Agency rules and would require a lengthy permitting process by the APA.

    APA tower placement policy requires agency approval of any structure taller than 40 feet. Towers can’t be built on state land, which makes up more than half the 6.5 million-acre park.

    There is $1 million in funding in the 2007-08 state budget to provide cell-phone service along the Northway.


    PETITION DRIVE

    Little said the American Automobile Association has organized a huge petition drive in favor of providing cell-phone service before winter.

    Petitions are available at AAA Northway’s Plattsburgh office and online at Road, Travel, and Financial Services - AAA.

    While Little, along with State Assemblywomen Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro) and Janet Duprey (R-Peru), were working on cell-phone service for the Northway corridor, other Adirondack communities began calling them about assistance in acquiring service.

    A meeting in Saranac Lake in March between local government officials and cell-phone service providers resulted in an effort to inventory existing tall structures where cell-phone antennas could be erected. Little said the locations of three dozen such sites have since been passed on to service providers.

    Little said the APA indicated at that meeting that there is a two-week turnaround on complete cell-phone antenna applications for existing structures. She said antennas are nearly ready to begin operation in Keene and St. Regis Falls.

    An antenna has been installed in the cupola atop the Elizabethtown Town Hall. Nextel has installed an antenna on the Town of Essex water tower and painted it blue to make it “substantially invisible,” another requirement under APA rules.

    Verizon wanted to put a cell-phone tower in the parking lot at Westport Country Club, but the Town of Westport has since asked that the antenna be located on town property, Little said.

    Completion of the Community Broadband Network Connect could also help with cell-phone service. Distributed antenna systems could be placed on the network’s utility poles without an APA permit, Little noted. They would hook into the fiber lines and act like repeaters to carry cell-phone signals.
     
  2. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker Senior Member

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    Interesting story. I have watched the fight to get service along the Northway for some time now, and it seems like little or no progress has been made in months. From the looks of it, a temp. solution of putting up a few cows at rest stops will only make a very small dent in the coverage gap that is currently there. What is the coverage range of a COW, a mile or 2 in any direction?
     
  3. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sorry could one of you maybe show on a map where this is you are talking about?
     
  4. ushutup

    ushutup Junior Member Junior Member

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    It's roughly from Schroon Lake to Peru.
     

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  5. clock3687

    clock3687 Cell Signal?????? Use it! Senior Member

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    Hey RJB, they're talking about this stretch of I-87, north of Albany, NY. One map has got approximate coverage w/ Unicel from T-mobile, the other, Verizon.

    Sry shutup didn't see u put a map up there.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  6. ushutup

    ushutup Junior Member Junior Member

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    Don't let it happen again. lol :biggrin:
     
  7. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy Senior Member

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    I am curious, I have been seeing a bunch of press release's mentioning Verizon, are they they only carrier going to put up the towers or are they going to be the ones to build the towers & the other carriers will lease space on them (that have the license in that area) to provide coverage? it makes no sense only a CDMA carrier will have coverage & no GSM carriers.
     
  8. Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton 10 years scandal free.... Senior Member

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    Good point. If Verizon is the only carrier providing service in that area it doesn't help any of the GSM users. I guess if you get in trouble you wait on the side of the road until you can flag down a passing motorist with a CDMA phone?

    Perhaps Verizon will just be the first carrier to offer reliable service on that stretch of the Northway and AT&T might follow suit. AT&T uses Unicel for roaming north of Lake George. Unicel was the most active GSM carrier in the region, but I don't think Verizon plans to expand the GSM network. Verizon said they want to get Unicel folks over to CDMA and use the GSM network for roaming revenue.
     
  9. clock3687

    clock3687 Cell Signal?????? Use it! Senior Member

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    The WA license finder says that both gsm carriers have licenses in the adirondack park region. However, i think that they were going to rely on Unicel to build out that stretch of I-87. Since Unicel is now part of Verizon, it seems like that isn't going to happen.

    It looks like the buildout will have to be done with the PCS licenses from either carrier. At least they have the ability to colocate on the towers that verizon will buildout, or maybe its in verizon's best interests to buildout the gsm as well. They would probably recoop the costs of adding gsm along with their network very quickly through roaming revenue.
     
  10. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thank you for the map
     
  11. joelliot

    joelliot New Member

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    Call me a cynic, but I think Verizon will build the towers so far apart the the PCS licenses won't work, leaving them as the only real choice. There is more to making coverage happen then forcing Verizon to share a 10 foot section of a tower.
     
  12. clock3687

    clock3687 Cell Signal?????? Use it! Senior Member

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    Ok your a cynic :rolleyes:, but that's why I said it maybe in verizons best interests to buildout GSM as well on those towers similar to what alltel does in certain areas. They would make quite a bit off of the roaming, because they are the only game in town. If that's wat it comes to then ill take it over no coverage at all.
     
  13. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy Senior Member

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    I guess it all depends on how the State wrote what they want & hopefully they took this into consideration so the towers aren't too far spaced for any PCS carrier, I guess once they are up & running we will know better, but I think if Verizon did that it could cause more backlash with the PCS carriers/License holders complaining & making it an PR nightmare that Verizon did this to prevent proper coverage for different carriers.
     
  14. clock3687

    clock3687 Cell Signal?????? Use it! Senior Member

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    This is the so called bill of rights for the Northway, based on this it looks like VzW is going to have to cooperate and build towers with enough range for the PCS carriers to co-locate on.

    The system must be designed to provide wireless communications services for motorist traveling the Adirondack Northway with public safety and emergency use as a primary goal;

    The system must not result in any construction of communications towers, maintenance roads or electrical power lines on the New York State Forest Preserve Land;

    That the entity developing the system will comply with the Adirondack Park Agency’s regulations, including the “Towers Policy” to ensure that towers meet the standard of “substantial invisibility,” and with the State Environmental Quality Review Act;

    That the communications network be designed to blend into the landscape; That the system honors all scenic easements that New York State has acquired along the Northway corridor;

    That the system allows for co-location by the Statewide Wireless Network (SWN) project, other carriers and public-safety groups to the extent permitted by the Adirondack Park Agency; and
    That the system recognizes the unique situation of the Northway passing through the Adirondack Park.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    www.ny.gov - IMPORTANT AGREEMENT REACHED ON NORTHWAY CELL PHONE COVERAGE AREA VERIZON WIRELESS AND ADIRONDACK GROUPS REACH CONSENSUS ON “STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES”
     
  15. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker Senior Member

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    And how exactly will this work?
     
  16. joelliot

    joelliot New Member

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    The only think I can think of is that all build out would have to occur adjacent to the highway.

    Then again, maybe the politicians were thinking the forest fairies would carry the waves on their wings.:loony:
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
  17. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy Senior Member

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    I believe you are correct joelliot, they have to have some right of way along the interstate that is not part of the State Preservation forest, and I believe some are going to be in the rest areas as well.

    To me though, I do have a respect for the trees & nature but when safety comes down to it, there is a line where a couple of trees for a person's life is worth it & they are being a little un-reasonable about their strict regulations.
     

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