reportedly requires only three feet of vertical space. Developed by the University of West Virginia and a Canadian company, it is undergoing independent field testing. If viable, it might replace towers.

OUTSOURCING?

Outsourcing is a possible solution for many jurisdictions. A site management company usually has a better understanding of the nuances of marketing co-location (multiple vendors' antennas on a common tower structure). Understanding the many variables of radio frequency requirements is critical to co-location success. It almost always involves compromises from the service providers and negotiating these concessions calls for a knowledgeable and aggressive strategy.

Are antenna towers really a problem? Yes, if they are next to residential property. One jurisdiction could have as many as 27 wireless companies providing service. If that happens, even co-location will not prevent antenna proliferation.

Les Branning is director of Technology and Corporate Services for The Innovation Groups, a nonprofit organization that serves 437 local governments in 23 states.

Branning wrote "Antenna Site Locations -- A Practical Guide for Local Officials" published by Government Technology Press.

For more information, call Lisa Thiel at 916/932-1300. E-mail: .

Telecommunications reform unleashed a multitude of wireless companies, all looking for antenna tower sites.