By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — Town residents with Sprint phones may soon have better cell phone service, thanks to new boosters that will attach to utility poles.
At its Aug. 21 meeting, the town board approved an agreement between the Town of Clifton Park and Mobilitie LLC, a Sprint client that designs and installs wireless systems to improve cellular reception.
At a town board meeting in June, John Britz, a representative of the company, explained to the board that the purpose of Mobilitie is to increase and strengthen the service capacity of their client’s cellular services.
Britz explained that, while the number of calls made via cellphone are increasing, the real jump has come from the amount of data being used. He estimated that there could be up to 300 similar boosters in the state already, mostly downstate, but noted that Troy was planning on bringing in around 20.
“The whole purpose is to get a stronger signal for the towers,” Britz said at the meeting.
Mobilitie provides wireless service to mobile devices for both residential and commercial users by installing boosters to existing utility and light poles.
The boosters then are able to offload wireless traffic from other existing structures, ultimately increasing the efficiency of the already existing those sites.
Mobilitie will be required to purchase a permit from the town for each location at which they want to install a booster, but right now the company has not yet submitted anything official, Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said. The agreement passed during the meeting, Barrett said, will serve as the basis to start the process of permitting.
Barrett said that the booster concept was a fairly new one, but also pointed out that it had seen success in other municipalities.
“All in all, I think it’s a win-win,” he said.
Since Mobilitie has not applied for any permits yet, it is unclear as to where the boosters will be placed. But Barrett added that he expects the company to submit applications in the near future, and that some of the boosters will be placed around and near the Exit 9 area.
Permits will each cost $500, Barrett said. It is unknown at this point how many boosters Mobilitie plans to purchase permits for.
He explained that as levels of cellular data being used, along with the demand placed on wireless service providers, continues to rise, the town has been searching for a way to improve cell service in town without having to build traditional cell towers. The booster equipment, he said is intended to that.
“That’s really what a lot of these companies are intending to do in many areas,” Barrett said. “We’re very positive about the introduction of this into the town.”