Technology & Innovation

AT&T Finally Granted New Tower; Acknowledges “Marginal Service”

Category: Technology & Innovation

By Lou Phelps
SBJ Staff

The Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) has approved a new 130’ high tower off Abercorn Street on Savannah’s Southside for AT&T due to the company’s explanation that it was providing “marginal service” in the heart of Chatham County, with significant dropped calls. It was the company’s second attempt to get a new tower.

The request for the tower approval actually came from Uncle Bob’s Self Storage at 10901 Abercorn Street, the company that owns the land where the tower will be built. Because of vegetation at the location, a flange mount will be added to the tower to adjust it actually to 150 feet tall.

CityScape Consultants, Inc. of Boca Raton, FL, in its capacity as telecommunications consultant for the MPC, reviewed the plans submitted by AT&T Wireless (AT&T) and Vantage Towers to construct the new “low profile monopole type support structure” and install new electronic ground equipment “in order to improve 2G services, standard cellular type communications, and to bring in new UTMS technology and 4G wireless broadband service,” according to the CityScape report written by Richard L. Evans, and presented to the MPC commissioners at their Aug. 10 meeting.

“AT&T’s cellular-type service has insufficient ‘in-building’ service and a high number of dropped calls,” Evans states.

This submittal is a modification of a previously not-approved application from AT&T and SBA Towers at a slightly different location,” according to Evans. The new proposed site is separated by 137.5 feet at 58.2 degrees from the previous proposed location originally submitted to the MPC on March 26, 2009. Processing of the request at that time was suspended at the request of AT&T until May 2009.

Discussions were then held between the City and AT&T concerning the height and visibility of the tower. The full application presented was later rejected by the full MPC Board.

“Vantage Tower, on behalf of AT&T Wireless, is seeking to construct a new support structure consisting of a one-hundred-thirty (130) foot low profile monopole type tower. The objective is to improve the current existing service and in addition bring the new 4G technologies to Savannah and Chatham County with the addition of new UTMS antennas at the 125-foot level,” explains Evans. Directly below the UTMS antennas at the 115 foot level AT&T will install new 2G cellular-type antennas to improve local service and reduce the number of dropped calls,” he explains.

Evans stated that the City’s Master Plan “clearly shows insufficient service from several other wireless carriers in the same general area, so there must be a consideration of future co-locations.”

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