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Proposed addition of new cell antennas could help coverage in Syracuse

Tony Alter

The city of Syracuse is looking for public input regarding a new proposed telecommunications ordinance. It could mean stronger cell phone connections for certain customers.

The idea for the ordinance came after communication companies approached the city about installing miniature antennas on poles all through town, according to Syracuse director of administration Beth Rougeux. She says these tiny cells will increase data speeds and cell phone connectivity, and are a better option than cell towers.

“They ranged from anywhere from 20 inches by 10 inches, or 25 inches by 15 inches. They could be 8 pounds up to 20 pounds,” Rougeux said. “They feel one of the advantages is they can go on existing street lights or traffic poles.”

Rougeux says the proposed ordinance includes guidelines for designs and rules about applications and permits.

“You can only have three small cells per pole,” Rogeux said. “We didn’t want to put up a pole or have a light pole which have six or eight hanging off of them. That isn’t very pleasing. We limit it to no small cells on special street lighting, ornamental poles downtown. We don’t want that to happen. We've limited the height of the pole. We really do want people to think about this, and give us feedback.”

But she says the bottom line is the proposal would help create a more connected city.

“People having better, faster coverage whether it’s for their phone or laptop, or wireless computer, can only help the city and downtown. There are more and younger people and they all demand and want better service.”

Most larger metropolitan areas already have this kind of technology, and Rougeux says the telecom companies are now reaching out to smaller cities like Syracuse.

The city is accepting comments on the proposed legislation that’s available on the city website until July 10. The common council could begin moving on the proposal in August.