In order to improve voice and data coverage along Commercial Street and the North End / Waterfront, Verizon Wireless is proposing new antennas to be installed on specific rooftops where private building owners are leasing space to the company. Representatives of Verizon presented plans at this week’s neighborhood meetings, as shown in the videos below.
At 406-418 Commercial Street (near Hanover Street corner), Alpine Advisory Services for Verizon Wireless has applied to the Board of Appeal for a change of occupancy to install a 7-foot fiberglass chimney with four wireless telecommunications antennas, two GPS antennas and remote radio heads, together with related equipment including a roof platform, 2 equipment cabinets and cable runs.
At 266 Commercial Street (Four Winds Bar & Grill), Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless is proposing to install a wireless communication facility with 8 antennas on the rooftop of the 2-story building to improve voice and data coverage along Commercial Street and the waterfront. The antennas will also be installed in fiberglass faux chimneys. Zoning variances are needed to allow installation less than 10 feet from the roofline.
Members of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) asked about the potential health hazards from exposure the new radio fields and whether the antennas needed to be so close to residences. The proponent answered that their simulations show the strength of the frequency waves are in accordance with federal public health requirements. Others raised aesthetic concerns regarding sight lines and views. Building owners who are leasing the space to Verizon Wireless voiced support for the plans, saying the added data coverage would be beneficial to the neighborhood.
The Verizon antennas will not serve customers of AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile. Additional antennas to improve coverage for those companies may be forthcoming in a similar fashion. Verizon Wireless also supplies public service frequencies for the City of Boston departments including the police and fire department.
The Residents Association (NEWRA) voted 21-10 in support of the antennas at 406-418 Commercial Street. The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) also voted unanimously to also support the location at 266 Commercial Street on the rooftop of the Four Winds Bar & Grill.
In total, Verizon Wireless is proposing four new antennas in the North End / Waterfront. In addition to the locations noted above, antennas are proposed at Villa Michelangelo off Charter Street and on the Callahan Tunnel Vent Building on North Street.