Temporary cell towers raised to restore Northern Berkshire cell phone services


Photo Gallery: Verizon installs temporary cell tower

NORTH ADAMS -- With emergency radio frequencies fully restored and WUPE 100.1 FM radio broadcasts at least partially restored, the collapse of two radio towers at the Western Summit of Florida Mountain has still left cellular phone service for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint spotty at best.

Spokesmen for both AT&T and Verizon said they expected service to be restored at some point Monday night.

According to Cory Thurston, owner of North Adams Tower Company, which owns and operates the towers, the collapse did not damage the operational equipment for any of the services that leased space on the towers, so re-establishing service is not as difficult as it could have been.

He said the priority was to restore service to the emergency radio frequencies used by police, fire and ambulance services. They never fully lost service because back-up systems are in place, but full service was restored by Sunday afternoon.

According to Will Keyser, spokesman for AT&T Wireless, until a permanent solution is provided, the company has two temporary cellular service antennas on wheels that are being located and activated nearby.

"They are currently evaluating the optimal location for two temporary towers," he said Monday. "We hope to achieve the same coverage we had with the permanent tower. Service should be restored some time this evening."

Michael Murphy, spokesman for Verizon Wireless, said crews are installing and testing a temporary cellular antennae, what he called a Cell On Wheels (COW), and anticipated service being restored Monday night.

"Monday, we connected the COW into our network by running fiber optic cable from our permanent cell site over to the gift shop parking lot," Murphy said. "This afternoon we raised the temporary cell tower mast 100 feet into the sky, and as of 5:20 p.m. we are in the process of powering up and testing. Like the other tenants on the damaged communications tower, we eagerly await the landlord's plans to rebuild a new permanent tower."

Thurston said he will be embarking on a tower reconstruction effort, noting that it will be a "large-scale construction project" and could take six months or more to complete.

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