AT&T cell service set up in Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
Three years after being built, the cell tower in Shandaken at Glenbrook Park will finally become operational.

It was announced at the September Shandaken Town Board meeting that AT&T will erect equipment on the tower.

The news comes on the heels of recent complaints by Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley, who noted the frustration of emergency service personnel during the recent Hurricane Irene catastrophe. Evacuating people under the harsh conditions was very difficult without adequate wireless communications, he said.

In 2007 the town agreed to a lease with Mariner Tower II LLC, allowing the company to build a cell tower at Glenbrook Park following years of debate over the best way to bring wireless communication to town. While many believed the plan to be faulty, a majority of town board members decided it was time to roll the dice and hope for the best.

Stanley, who was a town councilman at the time, was the only board member opposing the plan, maintaining his stance that allowing the company to build only one tower is like cutting out the center of a pie, leaving unappetizing scraps for other companies that would otherwise consider building a wireless network for the entire town.

To date, no other wireless advancements have been made, except for a temporary boost to cellular coverage in Phoenicia when a temporary signal booster was installed at the firehouse for emergency services, sending a cellular signal into the vicinity as far away as Woodland Valley.

It remains unclear why such equipment could not be made permanent.

It is expected that the Glenbrook tower will provide AT&T cellular telephone service along Route 28 for about three miles between Golf Course Road and Broadstreet Hollow Road.

Mariner Tower’s Chris Ciolfi said Tuesday that AT&T awaits the installation of a landline to the tower. However, that landline must be installed by Verizon. Ciolfi said they want it done as soon as possible, but right now it looks like AT&T won’t be up and running for about three months, as Verizon has not yet given a time table for the land line installation.
“We’re doing everything we can to move this along,” Ciolfi said.