Rhode Island Island Town Debates Tower Needs


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Jamestown, Rhode Island is located on an island not far from far from the Newport, RI mainland. Jamestown may, or may not need better cell reception, depending upon whom you ask. As the Jamestown Press notes, talks about whether or not to build a new tower have been indecisive.

Police Chief Ed Mello spoke out both for and against better coverage saying, “My statement is that police officers have no trouble communicating with other police officers. I don’t know if residents have difficulty calling us. I’m not stating that we never experience cell phone issues. 

We all know areas in town where there is less than desirable coverage.”

At a recent town meeting, those in attendance were unable to agree on whether or not to build. Councilman Randy White asked, “Isn’t it time to go back and do the portion of this that relates to needs assessment? Councilman Bill Piva responded that he believed it was a public safety issue for rescue and fire services, but added, “I don’t think I’m ever going to agree to build a cellular tower.”

Two different possible sites were proposed, with neither possessing a particular advantage over the other, according to the Jamestown Press. Service in the area is currently routed through water tower antennas. It’s estimated that new towers would extend reception range by approximately 1.6 miles. Council members debated whether or not it was worth the investment, and further worried that 5G would soon make a 4G tower obsolete. 

Deciding not to decide, the council voted in favor of passing a motion that “suspends the consideration of any tower, anywhere, until we analyze the needs.”

September 12, 2019

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