Antennas to be added to Sam Ingalls tower

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer
It was short and sweet, by comparison, when the Bridgton Planning Board on Tuesday took up another cell phone tower request, this time by U.S. Cellular, to add three antennas to its existing tower at 142 Sam Ingalls Road.
The ease of the review, compared to the board’s five-month wrangle before approving AT&T’s tower on Hio Ridge Road, was due to two factors:
• U.S. Cellular was not asking for a new tower; and
• The additional antennas had been included when U.S. Cellular originally applied to erect the 148-foot-tall Sam Ingalls tower around 2008.
Furthermore, the new antennas will be placed lower on the tower than the antennae that is there now, at the 145-foot tallest point.
Bob Gashlin, agent for U.S. Cellular, said future antennas “were contemplated in the original application,” and are now needed to meet the needs of today’s smart phone users.
Board Alternate Phyllis Roth asked if the additional antennas were needed to improve U.S. Cellular’s coverage for cell phone communications.
Gashlin said no, and said, in fact, that was why the telecommunications company did not need to go any higher with its antennas, but could go lower.
“This is not going to improve coverage at all,” he said. “With the use of smart phones, pictures, that type of use gobbles up so much band width, that the density is being compromised,” Gashlin said. “It will free up the band width so the quality (of the signal) will be significantly enhanced.”
Board member Mike Figoli noted that a structural analysis of the tower was done as part of the application, and suggested the board consider making such an analysis a requirement from now on as part of its Tower Ordinance. The rest of the board agreed.
“It’s good that due diligence has been done (by U.S. Cellular) without our even asking for it,” Figoli said.
Member Dee Miller said she assumed that any future requests involving the Sam Ingalls tower would be for additional tower height. “So, since this is for something lower, I have no problem with it,” she said.
Figoli moved that the request be allowed under U.S. Cellular’s original application, and the motion passed unanimously.
Board Chairmans Steve Collins told Gashlin that “Given the five months of excitement on Hio Ridge Road, “you’ve done a good job of explaining why co-locating” on an existing tower makes sense when possible.
Gashlin replied, “I’m absolutely sure that AT&T’s got a different set of frequencies than we do.” Each carrier has a different license from the Federal Communications Commission, and each license comes with its own specific bandwidth, with its own characteristics.”

Please follow and like us: