IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

AT&T Negotiating With Stillwater, Okla., for New 5G Tower

The new infrastructure, which has been in the planning stages since 2018, would expand the city’s cellular, Wi-Fi, broadband and FirstNet capabilities. Several emergency response agencies could benefit from the expansion.

A welcome to Stillwater, Okla., sign.
(TNS) — The City of Stillwater is negotiating with AT&T to lease space for a new cell tower that would be equipped with 5G and FirstNet, a nationwide dedicated wireless platform for first responders.

The company says the tower will provide more capacity and relieve other cell sites that are overloaded, improving signal strength and reducing dropped calls.

It will enhance cellular, Wi-Fi, broadband and FirstNet, AT&T Branch Communications representative Troy Williams told the council. Stillwater's FirstNet system is somewhat unique because it serves so many different emergency response agencies operating in the city and the county.

"We're trying to add wireless infrastructure to keep up with all the technology, all the devices, everybody's needs," Williams said. "It's not just talk, it's data now too. A lot of people still work from home and the capacity is the main key."

He showed a map of the AT&T's current coverage, which ranges from moderate to no coverage in the surrounding area and for Skyline Elementary and Stillwater Junior High, which rely on Wi-Fi throughout their buildings.

Those same areas would have good coverage with the addition of the new tower, another map showed.

The proposed site is along Manning Street in an open area south of Skyline Elementary between Sunrise Avenue and Will Rogers Drive.

Williams said the company has been planning for the 120 foot monopole since 2018, as capacity issues picked up in Stillwater, making it impossible for the existing network to meet demand. AT&T selected the proposed site because there is already a cell tower there that serves T-Mobile and Sprint. But that wooden pole won't accommodate any more equipment, he said.

AT&T's new tower would allow for expansion, with the ability to serve four other providers, he explained. The tower does not need to be located so close to the homes. In fact, AT&T had originally planned to build it next to the existing wooden pole but was asked by city staff to set it into the clump of trees.

In a report to the council, city staff said they were aware of opposition to the tower from some nearby residents.

Judy Wolgamott, who lives on a cul-de-sac south of the school and north of the proposed tower site, expressed concern about the cell tower's proximity to her home and others.

She said the open land to the south of her house, which contains a small grove of trees, is used by nearby residents as an area for walking their dogs and provides a home for small wildlife.

Wolgamott said she was concerned about disruption to the serenity and peacefulness of the area.

"I'm not opposed to 5G networks," she said. "But I am opposed to them in a place that would replace green space ... this came to my attention about a year ago when I discovered some stakes that were plotted ... that's just a minimum distance from my backyard fence ... so it's a little concerning to me to have a cell tower as my view as I look out my patio."

She also had concerns about any potential noise from the tower and about the lights on the top of the tower bothering nearby residents.

"I'm just asking you to think of these things and the disruption of the lifestyle that people thought they would be living when they moved to that area and bought their properties there," she said.

The Councilors authorized the City Manager's office to negotiate an agreement with AT&T, which would generate rental income for the City.

The project will have to return to the City Council before construction can start because the tower requires a specific use permit, even though it would be built on city-owned land.

©2022 the Stillwater NewsPress, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.