Letter: And the reason for 200-foot towers is . . . ?

When something is being shoved down my throat I want to know why. I hear some say we will get broadband Internet with AT&T’s cell tower plan. I hear others say cell phone service. Others say it will help our volunteer fire and rescue teams. But I don’t hear specifics. I see maps that provide no details. I hear claims that 45 percent of the citizens will benefit. But when I look at the claims made by AT&T, I find nothing that specifically backs them up. It is left for us to fill in the dream with our own projections and wishful thinking.

The map shows Sperryville as an area that will receive some benefit. Sperryville already has Comcast cable, which provides high-speed Internet to some. It also has DSL service from Verizon, which provides high-speed Internet to some.

High speed Internet is a major part of what AT&T says that it must provide to meet the government’s incentives for expanding such service to everyone. But it will not be providing that service to everyone in Rappahannock County, or Sperryville for that matter. Some? Yes. How many? No numbers on that!

The Statement of Benefits is what is used to justify permitting AT&T to erect structures several places in the county up to 199 feet in the air. Until now we have viewed such intrusions into the “picture” of Rappahannock County as not compatible. We have rejected such applications. What Rappahannock is and looks like is what brings people to our county.

With Sprint, although we do not have universal coverage for cell service throughout the county, we do have compliance with the objective of maintaining the “picture.” The rejection of Sprint’s original application didn’t keep us from having service. Sprint worked with us to blend in. High-speed Internet service to some in the county followed.

With AT&T, we still will not have universal coverage for cell service throughout the county. A good portion of those who will get coverage from AT&T already get it from Sprint. With AT&T, we will still not have widespread access to high speed Internet.
But with AT&T we will change the “picture.” AT&T isn’t interested in blending in.

If we reject the additional applications as they come in, we can protect the features of our skyline. It is the natural, unspoiled nature of that skyline as seen from most any point in Rappahannock County that is a major attraction. Visitors come to experience and enjoy the county and spend their money. Every day, you can see people get out of their vehicles to take pictures of our “clean” skyline.

Two-hundred-foot naked towers, whether built by AT&T or someone else, mar one of the very things that draw people to us.
We are losing the overall sense that everyone has when they come here. It is that sense that they have entered a special, more natural, less despoiled piece of earth than that which surrounds us in the neighboring counties.

Tim and Mary Lou Pagano

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  1. Contemplation???

    It is pretty obvious that you believe people who don’t agree with you are either ignorant or at least slow. I’ve been around long enough to recognize when contemplation has slipped into condescension.

    I also have been around long enough to have been a licensed amateur radio operator for more than a couple of decades: so the electronics issues, wave propagation stuff, and antenna types and placement aren’t new. Amateur radio enthusiast clubs have been providing emergency communications services to the community as volunteers with their own facilities for decades, even before cell phones were a commercial endeavor. They don’t charge for their services either. But they have been using The same technology that cell phones use so it isn’t a case of a view of the world as being flat. And it certainly isn’t about being anti-technology.

    There are good places in the County where cell phone transmission equipment can be placed. Those places would not require 200 foot naked exposed towers and they would provide the County with near complete coverage. The antenna structures and transmitters and repeaters would be effectively invisible and everyone could benefit.

    The signal surveys have been done independently by private individuals at their own expense. That means that they weren’t written off as a tax deduction as would be the case if done by an outfit like an AT&T. When that tax write off is done it means we paid for it through the taxes that are avoided. If private individuals have done it it isn’t a stretch to realize that AT&T could do it too.

    Truth in advertising: 200 foot towers as proposed by AT&T do NOT provide even close to complete coverage for the county.

    More Truth: 200 foot AT&T towers are NOT placed to minimize their naked, exposed, ugliness.

    More Truth: Naked, exposed 200′ towers by AT&T or anyone else are NOT the only way to provide cell coverage to Rappahannock County.

    Wanting the coverage doesn’t mean that 200′ towers are the only way to get it.

    The AT&T proposed naked exposed towers are unnecessary to accomplish the goal and, in fact, they do NOT accomplish the goal! More than a majority of us will not even get service from this variance from our previously strongly defended zoning requirements and restrictions.

    Bottom line: 200′ towers are good for AT&T

    The cost to those of us who live here: more than I believe we should pay!

    Way more than should be taken from the Future, let alone the present!

    Mr. Pagano

  2. Almost daily, we find protestations from this person or that person about almost any event, building, transportation change, power line, telephone line, or what have you. True, all of us have the right to protest, but also all of us have the right to gain new health and welfare opportunities that change may bring.

    Why a 200 foot tower? You probably have been told, but maybe simply do not choose to accept the explanation because you do not understand it . It is much like the Europeans of the 1400s. They were told the earth was round, but chose not to believe it. After all, they could stand on a flat plane, look all the way around them, and see the edge of the world. Some took to the waters as sailors, and still protested that if they went too far out, they would fall off the face of the world. Luck would have it that there were others who set out to prove that the earth was round, not flat.

    Now, lets take that knowledge that we all know is true now. The earth is round. If we were to shoot off a very strong light beam, at ground level in a flat space such as a desert, or over a large lake or ocean we know that beam will travel a straight line, and will reach out a few miles and seem to rise off ground(water) level, and after a few more miles it would appear above our heads. Were we sitting at the site of origination, that beam would disappear from our sight but would still be out there, traveling onward and onward until the dust and other particles in the air would diffuse it. Now, instead of a light beam, lets transmit an ultra high frequency radio signal. We cannot see that beam of radio waves but it can be “heard” along its path, using radio receivers. At some point out there (around 9 miles or so) that straight beam rises about the land enough so that we can no longer stand in the beam, with a radio receiver and hear the transmitter. OK, lets improve the situation, and put the transmitter antenna up about 50 feet. The beam will now start 50 ft higher than the original signal, and its beam will reach out further, before it too lifts above the earth where you sit with your automobile and your cell phone, and you will no longer receive a signal. You have improved the range of that signal, by a few miles. If you had a very powerful telescope, and no hills, mountains, building, trees or other things in the way, that radio signal antenna could be seen, and you could pick up its signal. Drive a mile or so further, look back, and the tower appears to be gone. That is because it is over the horizon of your line of site to the transmit antenna. The radio waves of signals such as cell phones will not curve around the surface of the earth but are what is called “line of site” signals

    OK, that is understandable, so lets take it a bit further. You are actually only a few miles away from the tower, but can no longer get a signal. The line of site is gone, and you have no cell phone coverage. Lets now build the signal tower 200 feet high. Because of its increased height, your cell in the automobile can now “see” the signal, dozens of miles away. If another tower were built where you are now sitting; lets say at 50 feet, that tower would probably have line of site, and could pick up the signal, and rebroadcast it to another tower, or to cellphones on the ground. That is how this whole system works. The higher the towers, the further apart other towers can be built, and still pick up signals for rebroadcast. So we have a choice here. We can have many smaller 50 ft towers, topping every hill and dale, or we can have just a few, built up high, on mountain tops, where they can see each other. It is a lot cheaper to build just a few towers, no matter their height, than it is to build dozens of them at low altitude. Ground coverage of one 200 ft. tower is much larger than each of the 50 ft towers.

    So, do you want coverage in your area? Maybe you do not, but how about your neighbors. How about the police, fire, emergency squads, and their customers? Do nearby schools, doctors offices, business locations need high speed internet? They have few choices: cable (needing a”telephone”pole every few yards, strung across the landscape; large satellite dish antennas (at the highest sites possible around), or telephone towers. Now, which one gives the best results for the lower cost? Which one, in the long run, will cause less damage to the surface of the land, and cause fewer disruption to human life living in the area?

    I hope this helps in understanding : Why 200 foot towers?

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