Cellphone service for AT&T users will be getting better in and around Glen Ellyn, with the phone provider and village striking a deal to install new antennas on a village-owned water tower.
Nine 2-foot tall AT&T antennas currently attached to the stem of the College Avenue water tower, just north of the village's downtown, will be replaced with 12, 6-foot-tall antennas, under a new agreement approved by the village board this week.
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Steve Pala of Goodman Networks for New Wireless PCS, which represents AT&T, said the new antennas are necessary to improve service for AT&T customers in the area.
From ground level to the top of the new antennas, the height will be 70 feet.
Goodman Networks will also pay the village $350 more per month in rent, which means the village will receive $42,000 annually. Rent will be adjusted annually based on the consumer price index, village officials said.
But one trustee questioned whether that was the best deal for the village.
"It is more of a deal for them than for us," said Trustee Pete Ladesic. "There are certainly are other locations that aren't on village property (on which AT&T could locate). If we allow them to locate on village property, it would be in our best interest to maximize the return for our residents."
Village Planner Michele Stegall said the new rent rates are "very competitive" with what other communities are charging.
She also said AT&T is the highest-paying cellphone provider with antennas on the tower. The original lease agreement with the village was signed in 1999.
There are 26 antennas on the tower, including ones from T-Mobile and the DuPage Public Safety Communications agency.
Village approval of the T-Mobile antennas in 2008 spurred a group of residents who live near the tower to sue the village. As in the village's agreement with T-Mobile, the AT&T pact includes a provision that the cellphone provider must cover any village legal expenses related to being challenged by a third party.