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AT&T's sweeping antenna plan wins final OK

Original post made on Jan 29, 2013

A contentious plan by AT&T to mount dozens of antennas on utility poles throughout Palo Alto cruised to the finish line Monday night when the city approved the final two phases of the project despite complaints from residents who live near the proposed antenna sites.

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Comments (23)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2013 at 7:07 am

Instead of a couple of cell towers on top of churches or at Ballparks, we get all these little ones all over town. I have nothing against these, but it just goes to show. When we start protesting against something, the solution is often just as bad if not worse than the original plan!

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:45 am

Dispersed small antennae are better because the transmitted power from any particular antenna should be a lot less than a few large tower antennas. Also, there should be less dead zones.

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Posted by M9
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2013 at 9:09 am

Palo Alto is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Now that's big news.

Anonymous is right also -- from all points of view, many small antennae is a better solution than a few big ones. That goes for fewer dead zones, lower phone power (the phone power in weak signal areas overwhelms tower power if you're concerned about health issues), better bandwidth, more connections.

Thanks Council!

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Posted by not an AT&T user
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 9:24 am

Why is only AT&T doing this? Have all the other companies found better ways to handle this problem?

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Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

So, This is why the Utilities Department wants to stop undergrounding Utility Poles..... They are now a source of income.

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Posted by frustrated
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:01 am

AT&T recently installed one of the new antennas on our street, 2 houses down from our house. It is up and running but it hasn't helped houses in the immediate vicinity! Apparently it works for people further out but not those of us in very close proximity. They removed a tree that was hiding the telephone phone to install the antenna. So, we now have the hum of the fan, the tower, removed landscaping and no better AT%T connections. Very frustrating.

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Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:03 am

I agree with not an AT&T User. I have Verizon and get close to zero reception at my home. A co-worker called with an important task for me one morning, and the call was dropped before he could complete his sentence. I had to call HIS working cell back on my land line.

When these antennas are installed, I will likely be switching carriers.

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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

I'd like to see a map of all these locations (much easier than mapping each). Anyone know if one has been published somewhere?

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Posted by Robert Brown
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

Can anyone provide a link to a map showing the new antenna locations?

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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

I just hope it helps the reception around here!
@ Resident I agree - And...I believe, "be careful what you wish for"! (or in this case, against!)
The ballpark could have been collecting a nice little monthly rent from AT&T (min $1500 mo). Oh well.

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Posted by sandy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

So happy to have cell phone reception!

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

City's webpage from nine months ago -- Web Link -- "AT&T DAS Citywide Wireless Communications Project"

Has a link to AT&T's DAS FAQ for Palo Alto page -- Web Link

Which has a link to a 1.5MB pdf "Application for Development Review Permit" (April 26, 2012) -- Web Link

Maps are found on page 15, 16, 17 of this latter document.

Maybe someone here can find a better more convenient rendition.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

Here is an image I created with Google Maps. Can't guarantee all the plot points are exactly right, but I think they are.

Web Link

Anyone know why there are so few in PA North? The reception is just as bad or worse around here.

Also, anyone have a photo of what the antennas actually look like?

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Nice work Mr Recycle -- check out the following for more antenna locations, e.g. Phase 2.

My earlier reference was just phase-4 of the roll-out, South Palo Alto, Barron Park

The AT&T DAS FAQ page also has links to the other phases, with maps.

Phase 3 -- Web Link -- maps page 9-12, Midtown to Mountain View border

Phase 2 -- Web Link -- maps page 9-12, North Palo Alto

Phase 1 -- Web Link -- maps page 9-12, Embarcadero-Oregon area

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Posted by Go Gators!
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I vote they place all of the antennas in Larry Magid's front yard.

Remembering that ATT wanted to install one lone disguised tower at the back of the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club. The tower was to back up onto the adjacent industrial site. A certain Merc News mouth breather, who makes a living off jawing about technology, came out with "Health Concerns" that inflamed the neighborhood with junk science.

The ATT proposal was a win for Eichler (rent) and a win for the neighborhood as there would not be multiple birds nest antennas erected all over area.

Again, pleas dont forget his brilliant reporting and insightful analysis. Please thank Larry for the telephone pole porcupines springing up all over our neighborhood.

Thanks Larry! Great work.

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Posted by Elated
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Hurray for every iPhone user in South Palo Alto, and boy, are there A LOT of us. I'm sick of getting dropped calls in my own home, so I'm tremendously excited that we're finally going to get proper coverage!!!

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Posted by Gracie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Two new AT&T antennas were recently installed within two blocks of my home. My AT&T cell phone reception didn't improve one bit!!
My bar strength remained the same. I feel sorry for Steve Job's widow. She has a very noisy, buzzing antenna on the utility pole in front of her house. The noise is surprisingly loud. Are any of the new antennas going to be placed in front of any city council member's homes? Just wondering.

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Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

It is just a matter of time before Verizon and the other carriers request similar towers in our neighborhoods. Apparently the various carriers don't share the towers. Soon, we will have a proliferation of these unsightly, buzzing edifices all over our town.

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Posted by Verizon user
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Our reception with Verizon improved a LOT several years ago and I did not have any explanation at all - though my recollection is the PA shop later said it was because they put antennas and/or other related equipment on the Stanford campus. I also thought it was stated that Stanford was getting $$$ for this. We are near 101, not near Stanford, though.
I feel for homeowners who are near theis awful-sounding AT&T equipment - doesn't appear to be any near us according to the list and I have not seen it to my knowledge, and I hope they don't get the idea to install it near us. There ought to be technological improvements so the equipment is smaller/more aesthetic. It truly does sound terrible - are homeowners in other cities subject to this, too?

Like this comment
Posted by MzMiranda
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Look at what the Europeans think about the health risks....T-Mobile put up a huge one across from our house last year, and it is very unsightly and can be seen from all around the neighborhood. This is a real slippery slope. And we don't even use T-Mobile. Why put it in the middle of Allied Arts?

LIke a drug company advertising a new drug and ten years later admitting they knew it would hurt people. I wonder what the health effects of all this will be.

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Posted by David Slone
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Leland Manor has underground utilities, so our household is not directly affected (no poles to hang the equipment on).

But as an accommodation, AT&T could ease the pain by giving the impacted people free cellular service for as long as the equipment is within X feet of their houses. Of course that adds the pain of having AT&T as your cellular service provider, but some might consider that a decent trade-off.

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto native
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

Finally I will be able to pick up a cell phone signal inside of my house.

Like this comment
Posted by whatajoke
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

1. Why do people think that they have a right to good cell phone coverage, regardless of where they live or what carrier they subscribe to? I'd like better access to an airport serving NYC; so let's build one parallel to Alma Street.

2. How much money is Palo Alto City getting for this from ATT? Is it a fixed amount (i.e. annual fee) per site? Why is it not a fee based upon the traffic (i.e. number of connections, length of call, etc) that is going through those sites? That way the revenue would go up with usage growth and improved technology. If there is this much demand, then we (the city) should get the maximum amount we can.

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