FirstNet is Batting One-For-Eight in Vermont


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Of the eight FirstNet towers proposed by AT&T in the state of Vermont last January, VT Digger reports that, so far, only one has been built. While local officials have expressed a desire for the sites, residents have put up a stiff opposition.

“Cell siting in Vermont has always been, I think, a local concern for many Vermont communities,” said Clay Purvis, telecom expert for the Department of Public Service. “So this is nothing new. And I do think AT&T – at least compared to other cell carriers – really tries to listen and take into account the concerns of local communities.”

As plans have developed to move forward with constructing the proposed FirstNet cell towers, local residents have stepped up to shout their opposition. For example, Thetford, VT, was slated to host a 190-foot tower with a five-foot lightning rod that would be housed in a 50-foot by 500-foot fenced enclosure. Residents objected to the height, which would exceed zoning ordinances. Aesthetic concerns, like those expressed by local resident Kevin Llewellyn, were also noted, according to VT Digger.  

“I believe it will be an eyesore to our community, and because this tower will impact my personal view of the surrounding hills and nature from my property porch,” wrote Llewellyn. 

This particular criticism died when AT&T did not respond within the allotted 180 day window, reported VT Digger. Alternate sites for the proposed Thetford tower are being considered. Plans in other communities have also stalled as residents who say they want better service balk at constructing the towers that would deliver it.

“Given how much people want this service, I do think it’s a little frustrating,” stated Purvis. “But it’s still fairly common and something that I think we’ve seen for a long time in Vermont.”

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