Caroline County’s Telecom Consultant: “Conflict of interest? What’s that? …Seriously?”

At the July 22, 2008 meeting of the Caroline County Board of Supervisors, there was a public hearing about a proposed special exemption permit (SPEX-01-2007) for a communications tower in the Reedy Church District.

The proposed location is approximately 1.7 miles away from the soon-to-be new home of the State Fair of Virginia. The company pursuing the new tower is National Communication Towers, LLC (NTC).

AT&T, nTelos (a provider of PCS coverage in Virginia), as well as wireless broadband provider CVA Link, have all sent letters of intent expressing their interest in this communications tower to NCT.

AT&T even sent an engineer to the meeting to express their support for the tower and to provide information on how much more coverage the tower would provide to the surrounding area, including areas that currently have little to no coverage.

Caroline County employs Atlantic Technology Consultants, Inc. (ACT) as consultants on telecommunication issues. The president and chief operating officer (COO) of ATC is George Condyles.

Condyles stated that based on his analysis, this tower in Caroline County is not needed due to the fact that Hanover County is building a tower in Hanover for their emergency communications system.

However, both AT&T and nTelos both refute this assertion and even provided maps showing that the Hanover County tower would provided little areas of new coverage, and might even interfere with existing tower locations in the area.

So it seems that Condyles thinks he knows more about AT&T’s and nTelos’s equipment than the respective companies do: He says that the companies would get just as good coverage from the Hanover County tower as from NCT’s, assertions that both companies refute. Let’s see, who would know more about the way a wireless company’s equipment works? A “consultant” with no experience at the companies, or the people employed by AT&T and nTelos that set up new antennas tens, if not hundreds, of times a year?

Every other sentence out of Condyles’s mouth was about how great the Hanover County tower would be.

At one point, when talking about Hanover’s tower, Condyles stated, “I’m not a business agent of Hanover County, I just live there.”

Well, you do more than just live there Mr. Condyles, you happen to be on Hanover County’s Architectural Review Board and you just happen to list Hanover County as a client on your company’s web page.

Who is the sole beneficiary of Hanover County having the only tower in that area?

Why, that would be Hanover County, of course.

If Hanover County had the only tower, they would have a de facto monopoly in the area.

Caroline County and its citizens wouldn’t benefit, either.

If the NCT tower in Caroline County was built, Caroline County would have free access to place antennas on the tower for its police, fire, public works, and public utilities radio frequencies, per the terms of the special exemption permit. If Hanover County had the only antenna, Caroline County would have to pay Hanover County for the use of their antenna.

The citizens of Caroline County wouldn’t benefit either. AT&T and nTelos won’t use the Hanover County tower because it wouldn’t provide any service to areas that lack service currently. However, the NCT tower in Caroline County would. The NCT tower would get AT&T cell phone coverage to the Route 301/Route 30 intersection as well as several miles of Route 301 north of the intersection as well.

Further, since the NCT tower already has a letter of intent from a wireless broadband provider, CVA Link, the NCT tower would provide broadband service to currently unserved areas of Caroline County, something that the Hanover County tower wouldn’t.

And if Virginia Broadband wants to provide coverage to that area of Caroline County, which would they prefer: a tower in Hanover County or one in Caroline County? Well, I would guess a tower inside Caroline County since that would provide more coverage for Caroline County (duh).

7 Comments

  1. Tom James says:

    Who would own the tower and pay for it’s construction? NCT?

    So why does Caroline care what Hanover is doing? Doesn’t the FCC regulate these towers?

    I don’t see what the planning commission based there denial recommendation on? Some kind of deal with Hanover against the taxpayers of Caroline’s best interest?

    Wouldn’t that be criminal?

  2. The tower in Caroline County would be built and owned by NTC, but the Hanover tower is being built by the government of Hanover County.

    I think the Planning Commission recommended denial of the permit based on what Condyles stated in his report (e.g., no tower was needed because Hanover County was building one).

  3. Tom James says:

    This smells really bad!

    Caroline Planning Commission is recommending denial of a tower that not only saves the taxpayers of Caroline money on public safety, provides better cell service (much needed) which also contributes to public safety, but a project that will generate much needed tax revenue.

    The citizens of the State will also benefit by better cell and public safety service when, and if any of them visit the Fair. (I know I never will under it’s current management)

    Really, really ugly, and smelly.

  4. That sums it up pretty well.

    “Brevity is the soul of wit”, as my friend Shakespeare says. :)

  5. Tom James says:

    And why is Hanover in the business of building, owning, and renting tower space. Isn’t that a venue the private sector does much better and more efficiently.

    I’m not getting any of this?

    It guess goes back to towns and counties being corporations enforcing their rules with armed men and women.

    http://ifaq.us/blogs/rick-caldwell/the-court-of-public-relations

  6. Tom James says:

    I have a friend that wants to put a tower up on his property in Hanover. He has very poor cell service in his area. Agriculturally zoned property. But he faced so much resistance and cost it wasn’t feasible.

    Now we know why! He was competing with the county.

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