BRECKENIRDGE - With demand for 4G service growing, Verizon Wireless representatives are vetting their options to increase capacity in Breckenridge through the busy winter season until a permanent cell site can be constructed in the spring. Capacity during ski season is expected to exceed the capabilities of Verizon's one cell site in town this year, and without a temporary fix, customers may see blocked calls and slower data rates. "We're exploring all our options right now, but as an interim step we're looking at adding a temporary site to Breckenridge to make sure our coverage is optimum," Verizon spokesman Bob Kelley said. "Essentially, what we're looking at is that as demand continues to grow that we're staying ahead of that demand for voice and data service in Breckenridge." The town planning commission shut down the cellphone provider's application for a 60-foot temporary tower at the Village at Breckenridge following pushback from nearby residents. The tower would have violated the height limit for structures in the core of town and neighbors were concerned about the noise from the site. The 37-inch antenna would have been in place for 6-9 months while Verizon constructed a permanent site elsewhere. Following the application denial, Verizon officials say they're considering other possibilities to improve service capacity through the winter. "It could be adding a second permanent cell site to Breckenridge," Kelley said. "We're also doing some added tweaking to the existing cell site." Some members of the Breckenridge Town Council were ready to reconsider the planning commission decision on the temporary site. "What we're trying to make sure is we don't let this go somehow and end up in a bad problem with our locals and our guests not having cellphone coverage," Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe said. "We need to be more proactive." The council commended Verizon for being out in front of a possible future problem, rather than behind it. The community experienced significant problems with cellphone coverage under AT&T two years ago when consumer demand exceeded the carrier's capacity. With a growing number of complaints about service stacking up, AT&T constructed a temporary tower at the town-owned old CMC building while constructing a permanent tower at Beaver Run Resort. "Verizon's being more proactive than AT&T ever thought to be," Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said.
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