Pasco Ponders Mobilitie Proposal of Five New Poles Only Serving Sprint

Mobilitie LLC has applied with the city of Pasco, WA to install utility poles in five locations within the public right-of-way, including the strips between the sidewalks and streets. Mobilitie LLC, a privately held utility company based in Newport Beach, California, proposes that adding these additional poles will help the city upgrade to the latest technology. However, the only customers that will benefit are those on the Sprint network.

“Right now our client in the Tri-Cities is Sprint, so if people wanted this technology right now they would have to switch to Sprint,” Steven Berke, Permitting Manager at Mobilitie told Pasco City Council members on Monday.

According to the Tri-City Herald, Berke states that Mobilitie’s hybrid transportation network would provide high-speed, high-capability bandwidth to meet the ever-growing demand for connectivity. The current towers in Paseo are constructed to only meet the needs of older, obsolete technology.  

“Technology is headed in this direction, and the city of Pasco has the opportunity to have this latest technology that potentially could attract businesses to your community and it could potentially keep businesses in your community,” Berke said.

Berke noted that this franchise application involves placing the poles – housing all equipment internally – on public property, no trenching or boring under streets needed. Three of the proposed poles would be made of steel and reach 63 feet, while the other two would be wood and measure 28 feet and 37 feet. The base of each pole is estimated to be 3 ½ feet in diameter, leaving at minimum two additional feet in the designated right-of-way for other utilities, reported the Tri-City Herald. Although the public right-of-way can be used by any applicant, the city must first sign a franchise agreement authorizing a company to move forward with construction.

The issue will be on the April 17 council agenda for consideration. Concerns include the fact that the Mobilitie network will only apply to Sprint customers and the proposed structures will prevent future use of the right-of-way by other utilities, who could potentially offer services to a broader customer network.

April 14, 2017      

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