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October 11, 2013

Cell tower activation delayed in Port Henry

PORT HENRY — Activation has been delayed on a new Verizon Wireless cell tower that will serve Port Henry and Moriah.

The tower, located next to the old village water tower off Spring Street in Port Henry, still needs its fiber-optic connection to the cellular network, Verizon representatives told town officials this week.

“Everything has been run,” Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said. “The power is on. They’re waiting for the fiber-optic.”

The tower, originally scheduled to go live Sept. 28, will now be turned on sometime at the end of October, according to the company.

“You won’t believe how many people have asked about that tower,” Scozzafava said. “They want that tower.”

FRANKENPINE

Port Henry and Moriah have cell service now from an AT&T tower, but Verizon Wireless customers have had to wait until they get to Westport or Ticonderoga to use their cellphones.

The two cellular providers use incompatible technology, so phones on one service can’t use the other’s network.

The new 80-foot-high tower in Port Henry is a “Frankenpine,” a tower designed to somewhat resemble a tree.

“You don’t really see it up there,” Scozzafava said. “They did a good job of concealing it.”

Verizon Wireless is paying $900 a month, split between the Town of Moriah and Village of Port Henry, as rent for locating the tower on jointly owned town-village property. The lease is for five years and will increase 3 percent each year.

‘A GOOD THING’

The tower received Adirondack Park Agency approval earlier this year.

“This gives residents another option for cellular service,” Scozzafava said. “People can shop among the cellular companies for the best deal on service. 

“I think it will be a good thing for the community.”

He said that in areas where there is reliable cell service, people are giving up land-line phones and using only their cellphones.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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