by Justin Dehnert of 1 Source Wireless
When I first joined the tower industry, I was mentored by a guy that could drive around and spot towers like a teenage girl who could find a fresh pimple on her face. I thought he was equally obsessive; seeming to know where all the existing towers were, spotting the new tower that had popped up, and even recognizing changes to the equipment on existing towers. Ten years later, the student has become the teacher. I have acquired the ability to know which tower will be around the next turn and spot that new stealth tower that seemingly sprouted up overnight. If enough people were as tower conscience as us eccentric tower developers, we could give directions to people to just about anywhere solely based on tower locations. By now most people are aware that cell towers exist; where the towers are located exactly, they’re not so sure. Until a tower is proposed a few blocks from their home, in a nearby park, school, or church in their neighborhood, do people begin to pay attention to where towers are located.
There is a group of non-tower people that have increasingly grown in number and have become more aware of tower locations. This group is known as the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard). They only care about the tower locations that they hear about, those that are close to them. They forget that they probably drive by two dozen towers on their way to and from work every day. Everyone wants “full bars,” “4G,” the fastest “upload/download” speeds possible, or simply be able to talk on their phone inside their own homes. NIMBYs are aware of the tower-building initiatives and want to utilize the services that they will bring, as long as there is not a tower located near them.
Well I have news for you NIMBYs, Cell Towers Live Among Us! If there is no tower near you and if you want the conveniences listed above you should eagerly welcome towers into your neighborhood. Towers are not what they used to be. The days of guyed wires and flashing lights are disappearing. Most new towers are “stealth” designed and actually hide the fact that it is even a tower, and you probably don’t know how many towers you encounter or utilize in your life already. The only reason us tower developers/carriers are coming to a neighborhood near you is because you need these wireless abilities to communicate and to enable you to efficiently run your businesses; we’re here to help you meet those needs while benefiting your communities at the same time.
Again, towers live among us, and you may not even realize it. For example, wireless provider commercials (originally carrier commercials) were all about who had the best financial plan, then the commercials started to boast about the carriers’ coverage maps. Today, in TV commercials, towers are often shown, representing a direct connection between more towers equaling better coverage which equals better service. Towers are not only shown in carrier commercials, but other commercials, for example Chevrolet, Nike, and the NFL have towers shown in the background.
Today, towers even pop up in movies and TV shows, (which we seasoned tower developers can spot in a blink of the eye). In the latest Batman, Dark Night Rises, they reference “Shut down that cell tower,” representing that people are beginning to understand the important services that towers offer, a way to stay connected. Recently on A&E’s Shipping Wars, one of the cast members was shown parked next to a tower; connected wirelessly on both phone and laptop. There is even a tower in the background on the show Amish Mafia. No offense to the Amish community, but if a group that tends to stay away from technology has a tower in their community, then towers really are everywhere.
To wrap up my rant…I guess to tower folk, we all come across the NIMBYs, maybe some of this will help you in your next community meeting or zoning hearing but keep eye out and see where you might see the next tower (you can turn it into a drinking game J).
To any non-tower folk that might actually read this, towers are out there, you use them, they live among you, and you need them. The only reason we want to build a new one in your community is because you want better service. We are here to help and unless you stop hitting “send” we are not going away anytime soon.