Wisconsin Community Against Verizon Wireless Cell Tower

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Members of a Wisconsin community are opposed to the plans regarding an 130-foot cell phone tower that Verizon Wireless plans to build in Brookfield. Many of the families in Brookfield believe that this cell tower will be an eyesore as well as decrease their property value. However, cell phone towers actually bring extra tax revenue, greater cell reception, and security to a city or town so would this 130-foot tower really drag down the homeowner’s property values?
According to a report by Sandy Bond, PhD, and Ko-Kang Wang, “When asked in what way the CPBS [cellular phone base station] impacts the enjoyment of living in their home, 37% responded that its impact was related to health concerns, 21% said it impacted neighborhood aesthetics, 20% said it impacted property value, and 12% said it impacted the view from their property.”

The perception that cell towers effect property values hasn’t been definitively proven through research yet. People in communities oppose the construction of cell towers for visual reasons and potential health risks. Although there is no proof that the radio frequency energy emitted from cell towers adversely affects the health of those who live near it.

As a way to stop the tower from being constructed in Wisconsin, the members of the community filed a $20 million notice-of-claim against the city. This is the first step when going about suing a government entity. According to Rick Barrett of the JournalSentinel, “It could be months before the dispute is resolved, but under changes in state regulations it’s now easier for wireless providers to get tower permits over the objections of residents and local officials. With the new regulations, signed into law as part of the state budget, local governments can no longer deny wireless tower permits solely for aesthetic reasons, limit the height of towers to under 200 feet, or require that antennas and structures such as water towers be placed on public property.”

July 25, 2013 |

Crown Castle Releases 2Q Reports

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Crown Castle released their 2Q report for the second quarter, which ended on June 30, 2013. The outlook is positive for Crown Castle as they produced an AFFO (Adjusted Funds From Operations) per share of $1.04, which is up 41% from the same quarter last year.
Ben Moreland, Crown Castle’s President and Chief Executive Officer shared that, “In addition, we saw a significant increase in leasing activity as all four major carriers in the US continued upgrading their networks for LTE and capacity enhancements. In fact, revenue from tenant additions approximately doubled in the second quarter of 2013, compared to the second quarter of 2012, reflecting the shift in activity towards network densification as carriers strive to improve network quality and to add capacity through cell-splitting to meet the increasing demand for mobile technology.”

Total Revenue for the second quarter increased 26% to $735 million from $586 million for the same period in 2012. Site rental revenue for the second quarter of 2013 increased $99 million, or 19%, to $617 million from $518 million for the same period in the prior year. Site rental gross margin, defined as site rental revenue less site rental cost of operations, increased $52 million, or 13%, to $438 million in the second quarter of 2013 from $386 million in the same period in 2012. Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2013 increased $66 million, or 17%, to $444 million from $379 million in the same period in 2012.

The following table sets forth Crown Castle’s current Outlook for third quarter 2013 and full year 2013:
(in millions, except per share amounts)
Third Quarter 2013
Full Year 2013
Site rental revenues
$617 to $622
$2,471 to $2,481
Site rental cost of operations
$179 to $184
$711 to $721
Site rental gross margin
$437 to $442
$1,755 to $1,765
Adjusted EBITDA
$436 to $441
$1,750 to $1,760
Interest expense and amortization of deferred financing costs(a)
$138 to $143
$581 to $591
$270 to $275
$1,022 to $1,032
$299 to $304
$1,187 to $1,197
AFFO per share(b)
$1.02 to $1.04
$4.07 to $4.10
Net income (loss)
$28 to $68
$116 to $212
Net income (loss) per share – diluted(b)
$0.10 to $0.23
$0.40 to $0.73
(a) See the reconciliation of “Components of interest expense and amortization of deferred financing costs” herein for a discussion of non-cash interest expense.
(b) Based on 291.8 million diluted shares outstanding as of June 30, 2013.

July 25, 2013 |

AT&T Users Will Have Better Cell Reception at Disney Parks

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When you put thousands of people into one of Disney’s theme parks, it’s difficult to get the level of cell phone service you desire. If you are splitting up with your group for an hour or so it can be stressful when you can’t get a cell phone signal and you don’t know whether you were supposed to meet your group by the Tea Cups or the “It’s A Small World” attraction.
Enid Burns explained on that, “AT&T will install small cell technology at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. The small cell towers will switch from AT&T’s existing licensed wireless spectrum to the installed towers, which reuse the spectrum in smaller increments. The small cell tower coverage will provide better coverage in the resorts and allow Disney to redistribute signals to provide more coverage in high-volume areas.”
AT&T will also be adding free Wi-Fi hotspots for AT&T customers as a way to distribute some of the traffic more evenly. This partnership between Disney and AT&T will provide a better customer experience for patrons when traveling throughout the park. Not only will families be able to locate each other better, they will also have access to the Disney Park apps and maps.

July 25, 2013 |

Cell Tower Knocked Down in Illinois

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This past weekend, a crop duster crashed over Lee and Ogle counties in Illinois knocking down a cell tower. The plane crashed in a cornfield about 3 miles northeast of Shannon. Thankfully, the pilot had no life-threatening injuries and was able to remove himself from the plane before the engine compartment caught fire.

However, the cell tower and a smaller tower didn’t fare so well and they both collapsed following the crash. The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

July 25, 2013 |

100-Foot Cell Tower To Be Built In Yellow Stone National Park

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If you have ever visited the beloved Yellow Stone National Park and tried to make a call then you might have noticed that the cell phone reception wasn’t very good. Currently there is only cell phone service in the Mammoth, Old Faithful, Canyon, Tower-Roosevelt and Grant areas. However, just this past week the National Park Service has granted Verizon Wireless permission to build a 100-foot rower near Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.
The Billings Gazette reported that, “The new cellular site will be located next to a buried water tank on a 100-foot rise above the Lake administrative area and 700 feet below the top of Elephant Back Ridge. This site already has access via an existing service road and is near electrical and phone lines. Antennas will be configured to minimize spillover coverage into Yellowstone’s backcountry.”
Yellowstone was established as America’s first national park in 1872 as a way to preserve the majority of the world’s geysers. With the news of this cell tower being placed in the oldest national park, people wonder whether or not this will affect the magnificent views of the park. The National Park Service reassured patrons that the tower will not be visible from the nearby Lake Hotel, Fishing Bridge, Lake Lodge Historic Districts or the hiking trails.

July 25, 2013 |

Radiation Levels Acceptable In Poolesville, Maryland

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The radiation levels from a tower in Poolesville, Maryland have been under much discussion regarding the levels of radiation being emitted from the cell phone tower. However, a study was commissioned by the town and conducted by Radiofrequency Safety International Inc. of Kiowa, Kansas. The study found that the radio-frequency energy that is put out by the cell tower is well below the required limits.
Radio-frequency energy is just another name for radio waves, which is used in radio, TV, cell phones, cordless phones, and satellite communications. While there is much debate over the harm that can be caused by radio-frequency energy, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Environmental and OccupationalHealth Assessment explains that, “the RF radiation that is emitted from cell phone tower antennas is far too low to cause health risks.”
The radio-frequency levels in Poolesville, Maryland were 0.2 percent of the level that is permitted by the FCC. While the members of the Poolesville may have been concerned about the tower, the study confirms that the levels are safe and well within regulatory standards. 
July 25, 2013 |

Cell Tower Rejected In Residential Zone

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Warsaw, Indiana based STC Towers proposed a 175-foot tower, which would be built on land that was owned by St. John United Church of Christ in Crown Point. Many of the church members supported this tower installation even though the church is in a residential zone. Many members of the neighbouring community were against the completion of this project because they believed the tower would be an eye-sore, but the church planned on bringing in extra revenue by leasing a space on their land to STC Towers.

In a recent article in the Times of Northwest Indiana by Susan Erler, she reported that, “STC Towers in June asked the city if the company could seek a special use permit for a 175-foot tower in a residential zone. The request was denied. City code doesn’t permit towers in residential zones, even with a special use.”

Aesthetic reasons are one of the major concerns for people who oppose the construction of cell towers, especially in residential areas. People tend to resist the implementation of a new tower; however, many cannot correctly pick out the closest tower to their house. While a new cell phone tower may be noticeable right after it is built, they are usually forgotten about a few months after construction. There are many ways that cell tower companies can disguise a tower, such as fake trees, fake bell towers, or even fake flag poles.

Government officials of Crown Point, Indiana told STC Towers director, Sean Boylan, that, “ the only avenue open to the company would be to seek a rezoning of the property. City code permits towers in all zones except residential zones. But even then, a special use permit is required,” Erler reported to the Times of Northwest Indiana.

Boylan shared that he’s not sure what the company’s next move will be because they had gone to great lengths to obtain all the required permits and properly meet the development standards.

July 24, 2013 |

Cell Tower Funds Little League Baseball Field

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While many people oppose the construction of cell towers due to aesthetic reasons or apprehension regarding the safety, the benefits of cell towers are often overlooked and swept under the rug. Not only do cell towers provide you with better cell phone reception, since the closer you are to a tower the better service you will receive, they also provide additional funds for local businesses and communities who lease their land to the cell tower companies.

In Athens, Minnesota, Russ Mann had a dream of creating a nicer baseball field for the Little League to play on  and a cell tower provided the city with the majority of funds to achieve this goal. Mike Max reported for CBS Minnesota, “A cell tower provided Athens with a $36,000 in seed money for the baseball field. But with more funds needed, Mann – alongside is family and friends – started getting creative, tapping into a momentum that became contagious in the town.”

Without the revenue from the cell tower, the creation of this baseball field would have been much more difficult to achieve and perhaps impossible. Cell towers are a great way to increase revenue for local business, churches, schools, or communities. A cell tower company is a long term tenant who can always pay the rent.

The Pew Research Center discovered that, “Cell phones are now being used by 91% of adults, according to the survey conducted between April 17 and May 19 of 2,252 adults.” With over 190,000 cell towers and the number of cell phone users in the U.S. increasing, leasing property to cell tower companies is a great way to increase potential revenue. The effect of the cell tower in Athens, Minnesota was so much more than great cell reception. There is now a place in their community for children to play baseball, the ultimate American pastime.

July 24, 2013 |
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