To the editor:
So many people are anxious for improved cell phone service that I thought it would be helpful to provide the information I have on this matter.
To date, the Municipal Building has antennas on its chimneys that provide service for Nextel and Omnipoint (T-Mobile). This has improved service for users in the area covered by these antennas.
Nextel proposed a cellular tower at the southern end of the station Parking Lot well more than a year ago. As this is a Special Permit application, the Village Board referred it to the Planning Board for a recommendation. Since that time, the applicant has changed the proposed location of the tower to the north, putting it between the salt shed and DPW locations. In addition, more service providers have also joined with the Nextel application to be included on the tower. These additional carriers are Omnipoint, AT&T, and possibly Verizon and Metro PCS.
The Village’s consultant on cellular towers, RCC Consulting, has been working with the applicant to ensure that this arrangement is viable (i.e. no interference) and that the coverage maps and other information provided by the carriers is accurate, that all providers are in agreement with that information, and that discrepancies in the information provided are eliminated. The applicant has not returned with its updates on this information since the Planning Board meeting in May. Recent communications with the applicant indicate that they expect to be back on the Planning Board agenda in the Fall. The Planning Board will then reach a consensus on their recommendation to the Village Board. The Village Board will call a public hearing for comments before a decision is made.
A separate issue of interest is the progress of the Village’s franchise negotiations with Verizon on introducing FIOS to Croton. While the Village has been very receptive to having these discussions, Verizon did not enter into a discussion until a few months ago. On the advice of our Village Attorney, the Village has special counsel to help with these negotiations, Miller and Van Eaton, P.L.L.C. The parties have met several times and the Village is currently waiting for Verizon to take the next step to further these proceedings. While Verizon is already installing fiber optic cable in the Village, any franchise agreement will be subject to a public hearing before the Village Board prior to a decision. Actual implementation at the household level can take considerably longer as each house has to have an individual installation which can take up to 11 hours to complete.
— Ann Gallelli, Trustee, Village of Croton-on-Hudson