County is “Schooled” on Tower Marketing Plan

Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) in Virginia, signed a 10-year master marketing agreement with Milestone Communications, allowing the company to market school sites to wireless carriers as possible cell tower locations, reported The Daily Progress.

Len Forkas, president of Milestone Communications, said the agreement allows the company to share the locations that the school district designates as potential sites for wireless infrastructure.

According to the lease agreement for the AHS cell tower, the school division receives a $25,000 one-time payment when a monopole is built and $5,000 if a second carrier sets up service on the pole. ACPS will also receive 40 percent of gross revenues from Milestone for leasing space on the pole. Additionally, the school division is allowed to lease space at the top of the tower, free of charge.  

“It’s a framework for allowing us to be able to share those sites with our customers, and our customers are companies like Shentel, AT&T, Verizon and so forth,” Forkas said. 

According to Forkas, Milestone ushers ACPS through the process if a carrier is interested in a site. Milestone can meet with the school division, walk and vet the site and determine whether it is an acceptable location for school staff. If approved, the company will also handle the local process and obtain all the approvals needed before building a tower under a site lease agreement, reported the Progress.

According to school spokesman Phil Giaramita, the marketing agreement with Milestone is not exclusive, therefore, “any third party can propose a tower location for the school division’s review.”

Ira Socol, the school division’s chief technology and innovation officer, noted: “The only reason we are ever in the tower business is to increase service to our students.” He added that currently, two tower projects planned near the high schools will “significantly improve” coverage. “We couldn’t possibly afford to erect a tower ourselves — they cost close to $1 million apiece — so we need a partnership structure to go with this,” he said.

July 11, 2018         

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