Poor Cell Reception is For the Birds

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Thanks to the Migratory Bird Protection Act, the ospreys in Chestertown, MD have taken control of the airwaves, nesting in cell towers and “fowling” [sic] up the signal, so to speak. As the Chestertown Spy reports, cell reception for businesses and residents is spotty at best when the birds and their families are in town.

 Offering an assist, nearby Washington College agreed to have Verizon install equipment at its Kent Fitness Center location to help address the coverage gaps. 

However, work came to a halt when subcontractor, Mastec, was thwarted by a pair of nesting ospreys who had dibs on that perch. “Verizon follows an avian protection plan ensuring that we comply with federal, state, and local laws as we do work that would impact active nests,” said Verizon public relations manager, David Weissmann.

The ospreys ruled the roost all summer, but their southern exodus this autumn means that Verizon can resume work on the college tower. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service government regulations state that “cell tower maintenance on structures with active osprey nests should not occur between April 1 and August 15.  All nests are deemed inactive from September through February when ospreys are at their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Inactive nests do not need a migratory bird permit or permission to remove nests.” It should take about three weeks to complete the installation, said Weissmann.  

 “Following an inspection from our environmentalist, we resumed work this week and we expect the network equipment to be ready to help our customers in the coming weeks,” he said. “We have been working closely with Washington College to put equipment on their tower which will improve coverage and capacity for students, residents, businesses and first responders on our 4G LTE network.”  

September 16, 2019

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