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Utilities Meeting Minutes
December 8th, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 P.M.

Present: John Bourisseau, George Skiper

Agenda: Discussion about low cell phone signal strength in areas of the village.

The problem was reviewed by addressing two issues:
• First, with the exception of Verizon, the web site of wireless cell phone carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile allow potential customers to preview potential cell phone signal strength, either “voice” or “data”, throughout the village by clicking on “Coverage” on their respective home page. By then typing in their address when that screen appears, a color coded map, on which they can zoom in or out, presents areas of the “Best”, “Good”, or “Moderate” signal strengths. Verizon’ s “coverage” screen, however, does not present graded signal strength; it shows only that coverage is available. Keeping in mind that signal strength could literally vary from house-to-house within a given area, a review of these coverage areas could still be used as a screening tool for selecting a service provider.
• Those residents with low cell phone signal strength, who are locked into a contract with a service provider, might consider a device called a “femtocell”. It is, literally, a personal cellphone tower placed inside the house. It resembles a computer modem in size and delivers cellphone signals through a broadband internet connection (DSL or cable). In addition to the broadband connection, access to a GPS signal is also needed for the device to function. The femtocell is described as typically providing about 5000 sq. ft. of coverage within the house.

The Verizon femtocell is called “Verizon’s Network Extender” and Sprint’s is “Airave”. Cost of the Verizon unit is $249, with no monthly fees, while the Sprint unit cost is $99.99, with a $4.99 monthly fee. AT&T’s unit is called a “3G-Microcell, but it is not yet available in our area.

A wide variety of specifics is readily accessible on the web site of each service provider. For more information on the technology or individual comments on use of these devices, simply type “femtocell” into a search engine.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 P.M.

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