Verizon cell phone coverage in Indian Lake as of February 2012
Plans for a new Verizon cell tower to be built on Tower Hill Road in the town of Indian Lake were approved by the Town Board on Feb. 16 and are currently before the Planning Board.
There is no completion date set for the tower; however, town Supervisor Brian Wells said he believes it could be up and running this year.
“Because of the lengthy process, I can only speculate when it will be completed, but I am hopeful it will be functioning by summer,” Wells said.
Verizon Spokesperson John O’Malley said Verizon is going forward to build and activate a cell tower as quickly as possible.
“Our focus at Verizon is to not only expand our coverage area but to improve upon coverage in existing areas,” O’Malley said. “In some cases this process can take months, a year or even more. Every project follows it’s own timeline, and we get them up as fast as we can but you can’t always guarantee a completion day.”
The project received approval by the Adirondack Park Agency in April 2011 and is currently waiting on approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Construction plans are awaiting approval from the town planning board. Before the building permits can be approved Verizon must have a contractor sign off on the permits.
“In order for the plans to get a completed building permit they need to have to have a contractor on the permit and they haven’t gone out to bid yet for them for site work,” Wells said. “It’s into the building committee scheduling at this point.”
EXPANDING TO NEW AREAS
According to Verizon’s coverage maps on Verizon.com, the a large part of the region surrounding Indian Lake is “in the white.” Meaning there is limited or no cellular reception.
Wells said in Indian Lake and surrounding areas cell service is needed for residents and visitors to remain connected.
“Its just needed here we need to have it,” Wells said. “It’s going to be important for safety and communications and thats what people want up here, to stay in touch.”
Bringing cellular service to the Adirondacks and other mountainous areas is more difficult than providing service to flatter regions O’Malley said.
“Wireless technology is a line of sight technology meaning each cell tower needs to see the other and relay back and forth,” O’Malley said. “Options are limited to where we can put a new cell tower so they can reach existing technology.”
O’Malley couldn’t comment on future plans to bring more cell towers into the Adirondack region for competitive reasons, but he said Verizon wireless is always looking for new locations for towers to improve cellular signals.
One way to do that is to try to identify if there is an existing structure Verizon could build their equipment onto. If there is an existing structure such as another telecommunications tower, another companies cell tower, or a water tower the process can go a lot easier O’Malley said. When there is no existing structure, like the Tower Hill project O’Malley said the process can take much longer.
“We are constantly looking at existing structures that would be suitable for our towers,” O’Malley said.