Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highway Gets “Secret” Tower

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Last week, Blue Ridge Towers held a ribbon-cutting for the first tower built along the Blue Ridge Parkway, reported WBDJ. For two years, Blue Ridge Towers has been working to improve service for Shentel Communications along the parkway corridor.

 According to Anthony Smith, President of Blue Ridge Towers, designing and obtaining approval for the concealed tower was no easy feat.

“[The] Park Service rules with an iron fist,” he said. “Their no is their no, their yes is their yes. And we got five no’s until we got a yes,” Smith said.

The 130-foot tower has room for three antennas with Shentel and Briscnet, owned and operated by Blue Ridge Towers, claiming two spots. Per Smith, the “grain silo” concealed tower cost three times as much as a typical tower to construct.

 Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority also plans to make use of the tower, according to WBDJ. “We have the opportunity to provide some of the backhaul plumbing. The plumbing to the infrastructure,” said Frank Smith with the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority. “That’s gonna’ really help him [Smith] be able to serve this community well and serve his subscribers.”

Smith is vetting 13 more locations for towers along the parkway to improve safety. “Someone wrecks a car, someone falls off of a mountain bike, someone has a heart attack, there’s no way to dial 911,” he said. 

September 23, 2019

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