News

AT&T's antenna plan moves forward in Palo Alto

City's Architectural Review Board approves design despite mixed reception from community

AT&T's ambitious plan to install 80 antennas on existing utility poles throughout Palo Alto continues to polarize the community, with some calling the proposal a necessary step to improving cell phone reception and others calling the proposed equipment unsightly and disruptive.

On Thursday, the controversial plan took a big step forward when the city's Architectural Review Board approved the first of four phases in the company's plan -- a phase that involves installing 20 antennas.

The board voted 4-0, with Grace Lee absent, to support AT&T's plan but added a number of conditions to its approval. These included requiring the company to test noise and radio-frequency levels of the new equipment after installation, using trees whenever possible to screen the equipment and changing the color of the equipment from dark green to beige.

About 50 people, including dozens of residents from neighborhoods where the new equipment would be installed, attended the meeting to either protest or support AT&T's plan. Some took heart in the company's latest design, which reduced the number of installations in each pole from two to one.

Perrin French, who lives in the 1200 block of Waverley Street, said everyone on his block opposes the new antennas. John Morris, a leading opponent of the AT&T proposal, characterized the company's phased approach as a "divide and conquer strategy"

"The secrecy is unacceptable," Morris said.

Many residents urged the city to create a master plan for communication equipment rather than approve projects one by one. But others bemoaned horrible cell phone reception and advocated a swift approval of AT&T's proposal. AT&T has also argued persistently that the new equipment is necessary to meet the city's high demand for wireless coverage.

The board's 4-0 vote Thursday is a major step forward for the company whose vision for Palo Alto has been attracting intense opposition over the past year. An earlier proposal by AT&T to install an antenna at St. Albert the Great Church in Crescent Park was heavily panned by neighborhood residents and ultimately withdrawn.

Palo Alto's planning staff also anticipates that the board's approval will likely face an appeal, in which case it would have to go to the City Council for a review.

Board members said Thursday that they generally support AT&T's proposed design, though they tacked on a list of conditions to the approval. These related mostly to aesthetics, including ways to screen the wireless equipment from view. The board also had an extensive discussion of AT&T's plan to install battery backups on utility poles. Board members and staff were particularly concerned about the sound the battery cabinets would make. The board ultimately did not ban the battery boxes, but members added a condition requiring AT&T to test the equipment's noise level for compliance with local regulations.

Paul Albritton, an attorney representing AT&T, said the company would be willing to omit the battery boxes. But he also stressed the importance of backup power during an outage.

"It's two hours of battery backup, but it's in an emergency," Albritton said. "Those are the two hours when things tend to happen."

Both sides at Thursday's hearing brought props to stress their point. AT&T representatives displayed placards in the Council Chambers with the words, "Yes! I support AT&T's effort to bring more wireless infrastructure to Palo Alto!" followed by hundreds of names.

The company had mailed out cards to residents, asking them to check a "Yes!" box on the card and send it to the City Council. Many did so. Some of them also wore stickers with the word "Yes!" written in orange.

Board member Judith Wasserman was among those who didn't appreciate AT&T's mailing of cards, saying the move only damaged the public's perception of the project.

"I've never seen so many people incensed about the propaganda they were getting," Wasserman said.

Opponents brought their own props. Morris unfurled a giant poster depicting an earlier AT&T design of the proposed equipment. Dozens of critics also wore stickers with the words "No DAS," referring to AT&T's proposed "distributed antenna system."

Under the AT&T proposal approved Thursday, the equipment would be installed on poles in the following locations:

179 Lincoln Ave.

1851 Bryant St.

1401 Emerson St.

1880 Park Blvd.

134 Park Ave.

109 Coleridge Ave.

1345 Webster St.

2101 Waverley St.

2326 Webster St.

968 Dennis Drive

370 Lowell Ave.

1248 Waverley St.

105 Rinconada Ave.

1720 Webster St.

2704 Louis Road

464 Churchill Ave.

255 N. California Ave.

1085 Arrowhead Way

595 Lincoln Ave.

Oregon Expressway near Ross Road

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by ATT
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

Why is AT&T the only company with this problem? Or are the other companies going to start building dozens of more towers?


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

svatoid is a registered user.

"Perrin French, who lives in the 1200 block of Waverley Street, said everyone on his block opposes the new antennas."
Everyone??? Really???

"John Morris, a leading opponent of the AT&T proposal, characterized the company's phased approach as a "divide and conquer strategy""
Why is Morris opposed? everyone in Palo Alto wants cell phone service, but do not want what comes with that requirement. NIMBYIsm at it's finest.

"Board member Judith Wasserman was among those who didn't appreciate AT&T's mailing of cards, saying the move only damaged the public's perception of the project."
There she goes again. Does it matter what she "appreciates" or not? Doesn't the company have the right to send out those postcards? Have they broken the law? What exactly does she not appreciate? More nitpicking from a reliable source.

"Morris unfurled a giant poster depicting an earlier AT&T design of the proposed equipment."
And what does that have to do with the issue? That design is in the past. We were looking at new designs last night. I imagine next that Morris will be bringing up the non-existant "health" issue.


Like this comment
Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

rem is a registered user.

Should would have been nice to see Middlefield and Charleston on the list OR BETTER STILL MITCHELL PARK (Base Ball Fielf)!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

Would love to see improved reception in Midtown.


Like this comment
Posted by Not an AT&T customer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:33 am

I've posted a map showing the approximate locations of the proposed sites at:
Web Link

It looks like the proposal will only improve reception in the north half of town. Areas on the south side of Palo Alto which don't have good reception will continue to have poor reception.


Like this comment
Posted by at&t customer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

This was only phase one of a four phase plan. The other 60 installations will be throughout the city, including Midtown and south PA.

BTW - these NOT new poles, folks. They are existing poles, ownership shared between the PA utility department and AT&T. In other words, they are putting telephone equipment on telephone poles.


Like this comment
Posted by A-Strong-Wireless-Signal-Is-Good
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:46 am


> "The secrecy is unacceptable," Morris said.

What secrecy?

> Many residents urged the city to create a master plan
> for communication equipment rather than approve projects
> one by one.

And how is the City supposed to plan for what it knows nothing about? The rapid growth of wireless communications has been both breath0taking, and difficult for the service providers to actually plan for themselves. The advent of mobile communications/computing devices has shifted a lot of the demand from home-based broadband to wireless broadband. And these changes will not stop coming, either. Just today, there was an announcement of the likely appearance of 802.11ac in 2012:

---
Web Link

The 802.11ac standard will bring with it Gigabit speeds, but unlike the current 802.11b/g/n standards it will not operate on the 2.4GHz band. Instead, 802.11ac will be using a frequency close to 6GHz (802.11a and some 802.11n solution operates at 5GHz today) which means that there might be yet another round of complaints from various countries around the world that are already using that frequency range for other transmissions.

---

In a couple of years, there will be another standard in the wings, to increase the range and speed of the 802.11ac products.

And then there is the coming of LTE (Long Term Evolution)/WiMax wireless transmission. Large scale adoption of these transmission schemes might see most of the local 2G/4G towers deactivated, with LTE towers replacing them in fewer locations.

The City has no expertise, nor a crystal ball, in these matters. It has a hard enough time keeping the streets clean.


Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:58 am

I was at the meeting and spoke in favor. These are only the first 20 of 80 proposed. Other parts of the city will go through a similar process.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

Do these paranoid and negative whiners have nothing else to do but worry about more boxes on telephone poles? If they truly hate cell phone communications so much, ask them to give up their cell phones.

You gotta wonder.


Like this comment
Posted by paul
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

thanks to "Not an AT&T" for that map - it's very helpful.

Is it only me or does it look like this pattern almost encircles but avoid DSF neighborhood?

Does anyone know of a map of where current AT&T antennas are located? Just curious whether there are current ones closer to our neighborhood already, in which case I don't expect our terrible reception to improve with these news ones, or whether there is hope from this first batch. Also looking forward to see where the additional 60 go.


Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

I fully support adding antennas through Palo Alto to improve cell phone quality


Like this comment
Posted by Not an AT&T customer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm

paul:

Take a look at Web Link (registration required)


Like this comment
Posted by McGrude
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I hope they do something. I have essentially no cell phone service at home. Even simple text messages can take four hours to be received by my phone when I am at home.


Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I'm very pleased with the approval granted last night for the installation of these twenty (20) DAS.

Cell reception on our street between Lincoln and Center is nearly non-existent; to avoid the need to connect to a distant AT&T tower, we now use a femtcocell in our house, routing all cell calls through broadband internet.

I strongly encourage the City to approve the remaining sixty (60) DAS proposed by AT&T.


Like this comment
Posted by jerryl
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I attended the ARB meeting. My first.
I was impressed by the thoroughness of the process, all the work done by City Staff to make available the vast quantity of information and hundreds of comments that came in concerning this application.

Congratulations to all. It was a long time coming but I think the ARB has done the right thing and it will be good for Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Allen Edwards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

The problem with always walking outside to talk on a cell phone is that the street noise makes it difficult to hear the call. I am looking forward to the new micro cells.


Like this comment
Posted by Good laugh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Having a good laugh because svatoid criticized Mr French for saying "everyone on his block opposes the new antennas."
Then svatoid goes right on to say "everyone in Palo Alto wants cell phone service"
which is a fantasy. Not true, a fabrication. But svatoid is always good for a laugh. Keep on asking questions, defending the government and corporations, svatoid. You provide good entertainment.


Like this comment
Posted by Luddite
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Where does it say that the city has to do anything to improve cell phone coverage?
Where does it say that anyone has a right to "good cell phone coverage"? Or any cell phone coverage at all?
And no, not "everyone in Palo Alto wants cell phone coverage." There are still some luddites who don't feel it is necessary to have to be able to be contacted every minute of every day in every possible location.
Finally, I have not heard what the City gets in return for renting space on its utility poles? ATT is not asking to do this out of the goodness of their hearts (if a corporation can be said to have a heart). It plans to make money; to have a sizeable Return On Investment of its costs. Will the City get a cut?


Like this comment
Posted by PA Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

One big issue that has not been properly addressed by AT&T is noise. There is a fan installed half way up the pole which will emit a constant whirring sound to keep the equipment cool on hot days.

It was no accident that AT&T installed an antenna on East Bayshore so residents could see what it looked like, but failed to make it operational so we were unable to judge the annoyance factor of a constantly whirring fan. How will you like the noise of a whirring fan when it is installed in front of your house?


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Svetoid, we are on the same side once again. Better check your meds.


Like this comment
Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Thank goodness the ARB approved this. I hope we will see lots of new antennas deployed soon and better cell phone reception!


Like this comment
Posted by John Hyde
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

We got great AT&T cell phone reception (5 bars) in both Yosemite Valley and Tucson during recent visits. But here in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, we get poor to NO reception (0 to 1 bar).

I wonder if our house here is worth less due to lack of cell phone coverage.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm

As I understand it, cell phone reception is something that has to be declared when selling a home nowadays. And if cell phone reception is poor, you may lose the prospective buyer. The fact that cell phone coverage is poor may decrease the value of your home.


Like this comment
Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Good laugh-you were so busy laughing yourself silly that you did not read my comment correctly. I never criticized mr. french. I just questioned the veracity of his comment. As for my "everyone"comment, I think most people who read it know what I am referring to. But glad I was able to brighten up your dull existence


Like this comment
Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Let's get the addresses of everyone in this "Comments Section" that wants the AT&T antennas and loud fans installed in PA. We can then submit the addresses of these folks to AT&T, and have the company install the antennas in front of their homes.
By the way, it isn't just 20 antennas AT&T wants to install. The master plan is for 80 antennas. Then Sprint, Verizon, etc. will ask PA to allow them to install antennas, too.
I guess we can forget the telephone undergrounding project.


Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

We need these antennas. It is only a matter of time when no one will have a hard line in their home. I got rid of mine (a savings of $700 peryear) and don't miss at all. Soon a cell phone will be all you need for anywhere in the world.


Like this comment
Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I heartily agree with the proposal that seems to have gotten lost in translation regarding a comprehensive plan for telecommunications instead of this hodge-podge approach in which each company gets "its own." With this individualistic approach we seem to be approving, we citizens will end up entirely devoid of any space at all where we can be away from the electromagnetic fields created, the noise of the machinery and the obnoxiousness of people who feel the need to connect to their respective Borg every minute of every day. Gone will be one of the HUGE pleasures of Palo Alto... the trees, birds and rare urban ability to hear the breezes stirring the leaves while taking a stroll.
And, as was said about giving up a piece of the garbage/parkland, once it is gone, good luck fighting the utilities in court to make them take it down. (is there any language in the approvalk that forces them to dismantle if it turns out to be a public nuisance, or are we only asking them to "monitor" the situation?
When in your homes, use the land line... or better yet, talk to the people you live with!
If you don't think that doing this without a master plan holds potential to be a disaster in the making, check out photos of urban Delhi and its intricate tangles of competing wires, antennas and assorted hardware in a paragon of unregulated access.
Why not have the city put up towers in chosen locations and rent space on them to all the carriers that are interested? That way we don't get anarchy, we have more control over exposure to health effects (proven or not) so that people who prefer to err on the side of caution can make an educated decision about where to live, and the city gets a monthly income from the leases.


Like this comment
Posted by Ann
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm

OMG! This is crazy! I cannot believe they are sending propaganda to residents. All so many anthenas! Why are we approvibg this to help a company that is making so much money from consumers and providing such bad customer service? What are they giving us? Why they need so many antennas? This is awful.


Like this comment
Posted by Not an AT&T customer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Ann: AT&T could have managed just fine with a handful of 50-foot towers with directional antennas. They would have had less of a community impact, and better backup power. NIMBYism blocked them. See Web Link for an account of what happened.


Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

What about AT&T coverage in the Palo Alto foothills. It is really bad. Visitors at Foothills Park can only get reception at the front gate and vista hill. Please consider putting in something in the hills to improve coverage.


Like this comment
Posted by A-Strong-Wireless-Signal-Is-Good
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

> If you don't think that doing this without a master plan holds
> potential to be a disaster in the making

Does the Palo Alto Utility have a master plan for all of its above ground, and below ground, infrastructure? Answer--Probably Not. And even if it did, do you believe it has been following this plan, as written?

A lot of this issue has to do with available bandwidth. The City has no idea what bandwidth will be available in the coming years, so it can not even remotely guess as to what kinds of transmission schemes (meaning antennas) will be in use just ten years out.

It's unbelievable that there are so many Luddites in this community.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2011 at 7:38 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

And how about those ugly fire hydrants? Let's get rid of them, too.


Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

A few comments:

1) If you hate AT&T, switch to Verizon (or Sprint). Both have far better coverage throughout Palo Alto, and you hit AT&T where it matters: their subscriber base.

2) Larger numbers of small antennas solves a lot of problems all at once. More total bandwidth and simultaneous connections can be provided. Health issues (if there are any) are lowest when there is an even, low level of EM radiation rather than smaller numbers of larger, more powerful antennas. Fewer dead/weak zones which means the phones in your pocket/purse or next to your head operate at lower power (the phones hit you with far higher levels of EM than the antennas do). Better reliability. This is without any doubt the way wireless is going and it has benefits to all concerned: quality of service, health, appearance.


Like this comment
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

We know that people living near substations for electricity are more likely to develop leukemia and other forms of cancer.

What is the medical impact of these cell-towers?

What has been the environmental and health impact of this.

How much does AT&T pay for the use of these structures and what public benefit is there in this? Will they indemnify the resdients within the scope of the health risks identified below?

Until I know these answers, I would be wary of any such decision.

I did find these two articles which are worthy of consideration:
Web Link (see below)

and

Web Link

Here is the first one. Go to the web using cell tower health risks and see for yourselves.

There is strong evidence that electromagnetic radiation from cell phone towers is damaging to human (and animal) health.

A study into the effects of a cell tower on a herd of dairy cattle was conducted by the Bavarian state government in Germany and published in 1998. The erection of the tower caused adverse health effects resulting in a measurable drop in milk yield. Relocating the cattle restored the milk yield. Moving them back to the original pasture recreated the problem.

A human study (Kempten West) in 2007 measured blood levels of seratonin and melatonin (important hormones involved in brain messaging, mood, sleep regulation and immune system function) both before, and five months after, the activation of a new cell site.

Twenty-five participants lived within 300 metres of the site. Substantial unfavourable changes occurred with respect to both hormones, in almost all participants.

Over 100 scientists and physicians at Boston and Harvard Universities Schools of Public Health have called cell phone towers a radiation hazard.
Cell phone towers cancer risk

A study performed by doctors from the German city of Naila monitored 1000 residents who had lived in an area around two cell phone towers for 10 years. During the last 5 years of the study they found that those living within 400 meters of either tower had a newly-diagnosed cancer rate three times higher than those who lived further away. Breast cancer topped the list, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased.

Another study by researchers at Tel Aviv university compared 622 residents who lived within 350 meters of a cell phone tower with 1222 control patients who lived further away. They found 8 cancer cases in the group affected by the cell tower, compared with only 2 cases amongst the controls.

Very few studies have specifically concentrated on cancer risk from cell phone towers. This lack of studies is in itself a cause for concern, especially since anecdotal evidence is plentiful.

For example, in a case known as "Towers of Doom", two cell masts were installed (in 1994) on a five story apartment building in London. Residents complained of many health problems in the following years. Seven of them were diagnosed with cancer. The cancer rate of the top floor residents (closest to the tower) was 10 times the national average.

We agree that more research is needed, but it may be slow in coming. Those who might fund major studies are the very same organisations who would be disadvantaged if a definite link between cell towers and cancer were established.

In the meantime, it is reasonable to apply the precautionary principle.

If cell towers are causing cancer, we would expect that several years of exposure (with only minor effects on people's health) might be required, followed by an unexpectedly high occurrence of the disease amongst the exposed population.

The damage from radiation exposure accumulates over many years, but the breakdown in health happens only after all body defences and repair mechanisms have been exhausted.

At an international health conference, 33 delegates from seven countries declared cell phone towers a public health emergency.
Cell phone tower radiation limits

The current US standard for cell site radiation in the US is 580-1000 microwatts per square centimetre.

Many other countries have set levels hundreds of times lower.

The reason for the disparity is that no one really knows what level of cell tower radiation is safe.

Current limits have been influenced more by economic and political imperatives than by research into health and safety.

More important than the intensity of electromagnetic radiation emitted at the tower is the strength of the resulting EMF wherever people live and work. This depends on the intensity at the source - and one's distance from it.
Cell towers safe distance

Different cell sites emit different amounts of radiation.

Radiation levels from a single cell site vary, depending on usage. Even maintenance issues can affect how much radiation a cell site is currently producing.

Radiation around a single cell tower may not be uniform - there can be hot and cold spots.

Measurement with a suitable meter is the only way to know how much radiation you are receiving at a particular spot.

But it seems that 400 metres is a safe distance for most people, and smaller distances may also be safe in some cases.
Cell tower health effects

Individuals differ in their response to similar levels of EMF radiation.

For some people, short term effects from cell tower radiation exposure may include headaches, sleep disorders, poor memory, mental excitation, confusion, anxiety, depression, appetite disturbance and listlessness.

This list is not intended as a diagnostic aid, as each symptom here can have many causes.

But if you and your family do not experience any of these symptoms you are probably not being overwhelmed by cell tower radiation.
Cell tower safety - personal action plan

If you are still concerned, try to obtain the use of an RF (radio frequency) gauss meter designed for measuring electromagnetic radiation in the cell phone frequency (microwave) range.

Switch off all wireless devices including computer networks, modems and mobile phones before measuring RF radiation. What remains will probably be mainly cell tower radiation, although TV and radio station signals may also contribute.

How much cell tower radiation is too much for your long-term health? No one is exactly sure. But if you detect more than 100 mv/m (millivolts per metre) in places where you spend several hours a day, you might consider planning a relocation.

If you cannot obtain a meter, you must rely on estimating the distance to the nearest cell site. If that distance exceeds 400 metres you are probably not being harmed - although high risk groups may need to be more cautious. See our page Who is at Risk?

When you next change your job or your house, find out how far away you are going to be from the nearest cell site, and let that influence your decision. Do the same when you decide where to send your child to school.

If you have reason to be concerned about your exposure to cell tower radiation - but there is nothing you can do about it yet - then concentrate on reducing EMFs from other sources. For suggestions see our page EMF Protection.
Cell tower safety is a public concern

In the long term, we need to find ways of providing cell phone convenience without exposing people to the existing dangers of cell tower radiation.

A similar approach to that suggested in our page Living Near Power Lines could be adopted.


Like this comment
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

M says: If you hate AT&T, switch to Verizon (or Sprint). Both have far better coverage throughout Palo Alto

When I lived in Midtown, I had lousy coverage from Sprint. Here in Ventura, it's much better. Has Sprint improved its reception in Midtown, and if so, how? Did it involve 80 new antennas?


Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

M says:

"Larger numbers of small antennas solves a lot of problems all at once. More total bandwidth and simultaneous connections can be provided. Health issues (if there are any) are lowest when there is an even, low level of EM radiation rather than smaller numbers of larger, more powerful antennas. Fewer dead/weak zones which means the phones in your pocket/purse or next to your head operate at lower power (the phones hit you with far higher levels of EM than the antennas do). Better reliability. This is without any doubt the way wireless is going and it has benefits to all concerned: quality of service, health, appearance."

+1; M is spot-on here.
_____

Alice Smith: AT&T is proposing DAS, not conventional towers; the difference between the two is often significant.


Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

JoAnn writes:

"Has Sprint improved its reception in Midtown, and if so, how? Did it involve 80 new antennas?"

As I understand, Sprint uses CDMA (for a portion of its network, Sprint apparently continues to use iDEN); AT&T uses GSM. Each has benefits and drawbacks. As I understand, there's a need for more cell system antennas with GSM to cover any given area.


Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

JoAnn: check this web site for useful coverage maps based on actual measured phone results (you run an app on your phone to contribute data): www.rootmetrics.com. Around Midtown, Sprint wins by far, but falls greatly in coverage when outside urban areas. Sprint is likely your best choice if you stay within urban areas, but check the map for your specific location. Verizon is, overall, far and away the winner but with lower data rates. AT&T is just awful, almost everywhere. But it depends more on your specific location.


Like this comment
Posted by Need cell phone reception
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I agree with "Concerned Retiree"..


Like this comment
Posted by Will
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

I am rather surprised to read so many comments asserting that being bathed in high frequency radiation, at any levels, poses little or no health risk. While the DAS format may reduce radiation levels, it certainly does not eliminate the risk. Any internet search regarding high frequency radiation (cell phones, WiFi, many utility smart meters, etc) results in numerous reports alleging the potential long term health risks. The only groups claiming no health risk are the manufacturers of, and companies that use, this equipment. I wonder why? Even the much loved iPhone recommends that you not hold it next to your head, um, due to the radiation it emits. Persons opposed to being bathed in radiation have a legitimate gripe. Those that dismiss their concerns as trivial should educate themselves better.


Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

"...being bathed in high frequency radiation."

Inadequate cell coverage increases radiation emitted by the phone.

Thus, with poorer coverage -- say from fewer GSM cell towers or GSM DAS units -- the radiation emitted by an iPhone or other cellular device increases.

More towers and DAS units increases cell coverage; increased coverage lowers radiation emitted by the phone.

Given the inverse square law, the exposure to radiation emitted by a tower or DAS is much, much less than the exposure to radiation emitted by a cell phone.

This is a health issue; fewer towers and fewer DAS units increases the radiation exposure to cell users.
_____

To mitigate the health issues, I've installed a femtocell at both my home and workplace.

I'm a strong, strong supporter of DAS units in Palo Alto; when installed in Crescent Park, I'll likely discard my femtocell at home.


Like this comment
Posted by Ed Rice
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Besides ATT&T, at least two other major cell phone service providers have poor service in our neighborhood. So we picked the service we use strictly on the basis of signal strength, not bells, whistles and puffery.

AT&T is making a lot of noise about improving wireless service, but it's only their service, Are other signal-deficient carriers also going to be permitted to decorate utility poles with antennas? From a competitive standpoint it seems only fair that the be permitted to take some action.

It seems that AT&T's new pole-top antennas spell the end of "undergrounding" utilities. Over the past forty years, I have watched a continued accretion of wires, cables and small black boxes on the utility pole in my back yard. That's the same pole I was told would soon be gone when I asked about it in 1969.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Under grounding is a plus only to those who are upset to see the necessary elements of our civilization exposed. It is far more expensive than overhead, and not any more free from trouble. I have wires in front of and behind my house and have seldom given them a care.


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Posted by AW
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Sigh, once again the specious claims of cancer and other ill health effects enters the mix.

Anyone owning a cell phone and going around fear-mongering about cancer from cell towers is being a hypocrite by many orders of magnitude. The danger, if any, is from your own handset, by several orders of magnitude.

Here are my standard bullet points:

I have read many of the cell-tower epidemiological cancer studies and found all the ones I read to be deeply flawed methodologically and rather more interested in "proving" a point. A layman might not be able to spot the flaws.

Microwave photons are one million times less powerful than visible light photons and the fact that such weak photons cannot break chemical bonds.

A cell tower typically emits 100 Watts. Compare that to Sutro Tower, which emits 5MW at similar frequencies without anyone complaining, as far as I can tell, and people living 500ft away. This is an indication of fear being irrationally placed.

The inverse square law makes the ratio of incident energy at your head from your handset to the incident energy from a far cell tower over 1 million times. That is an equivalent talk time of less than 1 second or 1 millisecond per day, depending on the distance. The farther away you are the bigger the ratio, and also the more power your cell phone will transmit. Your cell phone may modulate its power between about one milliwatt to 2000 milliwatts. Because of the inverse-square law, the ratio goes up as the 4th power of distance to tower. Anyone owning a cell phone and going around fear-mongering about cancer from cell towers is being a hypocrite by many orders of magnitude. The danger, if any, is from your own handset, by several orders of magnitude. Having denser and lower-power cell towers increases bandwidth as well as lowers incident power density.


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Posted by Randy Smith
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Hey, many are concerned by how ugly these units will look -- but I have missed the photos or drawings (if there are any) ... does anyone have a link showing what one of these installations looks like?


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