FLINT TWP. — AT&T is shopping around for sites to expand its 4G wireless service and that could bring extra monthly income to both the township and Carman- Ainsworth School District.
4G is short for Fourth Generation, the latest edition of wireless technology, superceding 3G, to bring even faster speeds to users of smart phones, tablets and other compatible electronic communication devices.
AT&T has launched 4G LTE in 405 markets providing coverage to more than 288 million people, according to its website.
“AT&T is currently working to enhance wireless telecommunications coverage within .. the township and surrounding areas,” according to a proposal letter township officials received in late August.
At its Sept. 3 meeting, the township board authorized supervisor Karyn Miller to enter negotiations with AT&T about leasing one of two township-owned parcels near Calkins and Linden roads.
AT&T proposed to pay $1,000 a month to lease 75 x 75-feet of ground space. The contract would be for five-years initially and renewable. They would install a 170- foot monopole free standing tower similar to one currently located at the Flint Township Fire Station. It would be surrounded by a security fence and AT&T would be responsible for all maintenance.
Miller said the cellphone tower near the fire station brings in $1,100 a month in lease payments from AT&T.
Trustee George Menoutes asked about a co-location clause included in AT&Ts proposal which would allow it to sell tower space to other users. He wondered if that would be of financial benefit to the township and asked Miller to discuss “piggybacking” during the negotiations.
Trustee Frank Kasle suggested finding out the going rate being paid for other towers to ensure that the township receives comparable fees. He asked if Miller would bring the contract back to the board for final approval. She said she would and that it also would be reviewed by the township attorney.
Tracey Tucker, township economic enhancement director, said the proposed tower sites would serve the area of Western Hills, Dyewood and near CA high school because 4G frequencies have a limited coverage range. AT&T is also looking for sites in the southeast section of the township and further east, she said.
Russ Parks, C-A assistant superintendent, announced at last week’s school board meeting that the district also is negotiating with AT&T to lease space at the middle school off Maple Road.
“We are one of three sites that they are looking at in that area but one thing that hurts us is our proximity to the airport,’’ Parks said.
If selected, the tower could bring in about $600 in monthly rent (about $7,200 a year), he said. The district already is getting $1,300 a month for an existing tower it leases to AT&T.