Verizon ready to activate cell towers
"I think we're close. I think we have all we need in place, we're just optimizing right now," said Director of Networks for Verizon Wireless Richard Enwright. "We did have some holdups getting lines and power to all of the sites."
The towers will provide continuous digital cell service from Rutland County to the Massachusetts border, including some locations that do not currently have cellular service.
By November, all but two sites had been built, with locations in Pownal and Sunderland awaiting construction. Those sites are completed, said Enwright.
Now, Verizon employees are testing the towers to ensure that the system operates properly and there is no interference, according to Enwright.
In Pownal, some residents claimed to have connected to the network while Verizon was testing the sites.
Brian Sullivan, an attorney for Verizon, told the Bennington County Regional Commission in November that the sites would be activated by the end of December. Enwright said that the delay in providing power to all the sites is typical.
"We only missed the end of the year by a couple days," said Enwright. "I think we're really close."
Enwright said that once the tests are completed, Verizon will announce when the sites will be activated.
The Pownal site, which is located on Michael and Marilyn Gardner's farm, is a temporary cell tower known as a COW, an acronym for Cell on Wheels. Verizon originally proposed installing a wind turbine and cell tower mixed structure at the site, but the Public Service Board rejected the proposal, stating that the board did not have authorization to approve electric generating structures.
Vermont statutes now allow the board to approve those requests but Verizon is required to reapply for the permit. Nine towers to the north of Pownal could not have been activated without the COW temporary tower in place.
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