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Strides in Improving Cell Coverage in Germantown

Post Date:02/08/2019 1:00 PM

There are two new cellular towers currently in various stages of the approval process: one at the Madonna Learning Center on Poplar and another at Dogwood Elementary School. 

Germantown residents and businesses expect ubiquitous, high speed wireless coverage; however, the service within the City is not meeting customer demand. Approximately 56% of Germantown residents are satisfied with their wireless services. Today, wireless is becoming the primary home phone service for many. In addition, approximately 76% of all 911 calls in Germantown come from cell phones. 

In January 2015, the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a process for the development of a long-range strategic plan, Germantown Forward 2030, to guide the growth and development of the community for the next 15 years. One of the key performance areas of the Germantown Forward 2030 is technology, with an emphasis on how to manage technologies strategically and invest infrastructure dollars wisely to meet the expectations of citizens and the business community. One of the objectives of this key performance area is to improve wireless coverage. 

In 2016, the City created enabling legislation which would allow providers and tower builders to extend tower height from 100 ft. to 140 ft. In addition, the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen have approved numerous existing tower improvements over the years. City staff has regular meetings with cell providers to discuss the continuous improvement of coverage within the area. 

Most recently, the Tennessee State Legislature passed the “Competitive Wireless Broadband Investment, Deployment and Safety Act of 2018.” This legislation grants access for cell companies to install small cells within city right-of-ways. Small cells help to fill coverage gaps and integral to the next generation 5G networks. In an effort to keep up with the changing times, an ordinance update as it relates to small cell sites is currently working its way through the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. In addition, staff has created a process for small cell applications. 

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