There is eager anticipation for the wireless facility to be up and running so that cell service will be available in the dead spots of Garden Valley. Right now, there is a steel pole that can be seen from Banks Lowman Road and other areas. Soon there will be the antenna attachments for individual carriers, starting with Verizon and T-Mobile, who have made a lease agreement. The other carriers of AT&T and Sprint are still in “active negotiations” according to Mercury Tower representative Aaron Gunn.
“The hilltop location was a perfect choice,” according to Gunn, “and it should provide the maximum coverage for service.” He is still looking to see if Placerville might even receive the signal. This might not be known until the facility is totally operational, but Gunn assured that the coverage will be extensive.
The power and fiber optics will now need to be set in a trench along the westside fence that was part of the Conditional Use Permit plan. Once the wires and fiber are laid out to the wireless communication facility (WCF), the equipment on the tower will be installed. That will be a recognizable sign that the WCF is close to being operational, according to Gunn. Their plan is to have the WCF fully operational by summer or sooner if all plans and weather cooperate.
A mono-pine design will be put on the WCF to disguise the tower and yet keep it functional. Larson Camouflage (not related to the property owner) will dress up the tower. Their products are used worldwide and is an interesting website to visit. The mono-pine design was installed for the first time in 1992. Materials and branches were designed to still allow the signal to work yet keep the antenna virtually “invisible”. The branches will most likely be installed after the equipment is installed.
Besides the tourists and locals that travel Banks Lowman, the services will be useful for many customers who have different carriers. Gunn explained that it is not uncommon for all four carriers to jump on leasing the tower space and he explains that carriers have been “really excited” about this particular facility and its location.
As the area grows, the need for good cell service is a top priority. Law enforcement, and emergency responder rely on what a cell tower can provide for communication efforts. This can be in the form of back up communications and sometimes the primary service. Amber Alerts are also transmitted through these communication facilities. The recent purchase of a wireless heart monitor by the Garden Valley Fire Protection District relies on this tower for transmitting information to hospitals in other counties.
The Library and Garden Valley School will benefit from a wireless facility, too. The increase in technology being taught and utilized needs the expanded wireless coverage. As the area grows, the cell service will be very important on many levels. Many people think that having cell service will make the area grow, when in fact, the service will provide safety and strengthen technology for the people who will move here anyway or just for those traveling through. It will benefit businesses to have increased communication as well.