Breckenridge: AT&T cell phone tower nears completion
BRECKENRIDGE – Town council agreed to again extend a lease to AT&T, allowing the company’s temporary antenna to remain in town another month in anticipation of the completion of a permanent cell phone tower at Beaver Run. The tower, expected to improve AT&T’s service in Breckenridge, has now taken several weeks longer to complete than originally anticipated.It will join T-Mobile and Sprint towers at the top of Building Two at the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center. “(It’s a) 3G cell site that we’re in stalling in Breckenridge,” AT&T spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg said. “We’re confident it’s going to improve capacity. It’s a great enhancement for the area.”Goldberg said she could not give an exact date for the permanent tower’s completion or the number of AT&T customers who would see an improvement in cell phone service as a result of the new tower. Earlier this year, AT&T leased town property in the parking lot of the old CMC building for a temporary antenna, after customers complained of service problems during peak periods. The antenna was meant to improve coverage in Breckenridge while a permanent tower was being constructed. “(The tower) will relieve the congestion in our community relative to AT&T calls,” Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said. “There have been a lot of dropped calls at the high-traffic times. We had many visitors complaining over the last couple years that their service was very poor here in Breckenridge.” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said town government officials had become concerned that the interruptions in AT&T customers’ service could have negative impacts on tourism if not corrected and were happy to have a permanent tower in the area. In late August, AT&T representatives asked for a one month extension on the lease through the end of September. Council granted the extension, but doubled the monthly rate from $1,000 to $2,000. Then in October, the national cell phone service provider requested and was given another month’s extension after running into setbacks with the permanent tower. Town council has now granted AT&T a third extension through the month of November. Rates on the lease were doubled to $4,000 in October and increased again to $5,000 when the lease had to be extended again into November. The town earmarked income from the lease for future plans for the CMC site, DiLallo said. Securing a good location for the tower was a factor in the delay of its completion. Beaver Run representative Chris Pappas said he was approached earlier this year about the tower. The companies involved in the installation submitted plans and looked at several possible locations for the tower, before settling on the roof of Building Two. Pappas said work on the tower began in early September. The roof offers a prime location for the tower’s signal to reach the surrounding area, according to Pappas. He said the tower’s installation has not caused significant problems for the resort’s business. But the ongoing process has been frustrating for both the Breckenridge Town Council and locals living near the temporary antenna in Breck. Nearby residents have complained of an annoying humming noise caused by the antenna. “(AT&T is) an organization that should have had this thing figured out two years ago,” Warner said at a recent town council meeting. “They knew smart phones were here to stay, they knew they had more coverage up here … I really think they are at fault.”3G cell phone service is currently available in many parts of the Town of Breckenridge.
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