“Could You Make Those Towers Taller, Please?”

Officials in North County, NY are asking carriers to erect taller cell phone towers to increase the range of service and reduce the number of towers needed to fully cover an area, reported the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

“We’ve seen time and time again that cell coverage is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of North Country residents, particularly as landline phones become more obsolete,” Assemblyman Billy Jones noted.

Politicians are approaching carriers rather than asking the Adirondack Park Agency to relax its rules, which require towers to be “substantially invisible” and co-locate antennas whenever possible. Towers are still approved case by case, though, and lawmakers are anticipating carriers will pressure the agency to approve taller towers.

Officials are concerned with the coverage gaps in North County and, according to Assemblyman Dan Stec, want to ensure that anyone driving in the area, especially during the winter, will have access to cell coverage in case of emergency. Stec also noted there is a solid group of legislators and environmentalists who are working together and compromising to achieve mutually beneficial solutions to taller towers and better coverage. As he sees it, there are three options for the North Country: maintaining the cellular status quo, building taller cell towers or building more cell towers. 

Although maintaining the status quo won’t do, there are opponents of taller towers and additional infrastructure. Adirondack Council Director of Communications John Sheehan noted that in 2013, thousands of New Yorkers engaged in a letter writing campaign to the FCC rallying against proposed tower height increases.

“We’re confused as to why they would bring this proposal back after so much time and effort went into defeating it in the first place,” Sheehan said. In order to reach a resolution, Jones said, “Regardless of height, we need to be sure we have increased cellular coverage, while also maintaining the integrity and beauty of the Adirondacks.”

February 12, 2018

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