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Street Light Wireless Antennas Coming to North End and Downtown Boston

A representative of Extenet Systems presented this week to the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) regarding their plans to install a Wireless Distributed Antenna System Network in Boston’s North End and throughout downtown using city-owned street light poles and traffic signal posts. Verizon and other wireless carriers would buy service from Extenet to enhance their wireless coverage within Boston’s neighborhoods for phone and data use.

NEWNC members expressed concerns regarding the antenna design saying it is not in keeping with the historic nature of the North End’s streets. The company already has a license to offer service from City Hall, but is planning to appear before Boston’s Public Improvement Commission (PIC) in February 2016. Extenet said they will work with the City on an alternate design.

The new antenna systems would extend out from the top of street light poles and on top of traffic and pedestrian walk signal posts. According to the company’s license from the City, Extenet is not allowed to install its system on gas lanterns and acorn type street lights. The new cylindrical, vertical antennas would be installed where there are standard concrete or steel posts with perpendicular halogen lights.

In addition to the North End, plans for the antenna systems include Chinatown, the Financial District and  Beacon Hill. Back Bay already has some in place along the Esplanade. Extenet is one of three companies currently licensed in Boston to install the antenna system networks.

A map and renderings of the new antennas are shown below. View the above video for the presentation and discussion at the neighborhood meeting.

14 Replies to “Street Light Wireless Antennas Coming to North End and Downtown Boston

  1. These things are ugly and do not belong in the North End. You can bet that Beacon Hill residents will not allow this in their neighborhood. North End Residents should fight to stop this now!

  2. The pictures shown are useful. The antennas placed on crosswalk signals seem to double their height. I’d agree, that’s definitely excessive and ugly. But on the traffic light, and especially the street light? Those street lights are already “not in keeping with the historic nature of the North End’s streets”. Adding this antenna to them, 20 feet off the ground, isn’t going to make that any worse. It will presumably have a useful benefit.

    I’ve currently got terrible cell service in my building. I’d imagine others do as well. If this helps improve cell service for residents, it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

    1. If your provider is Verizon these might help since this is a Verizon wireless project. If another provider…sorry. I have Verizon as do many others and our cell service is just fine. Above the lights and the traffic lights…. they are still ugly.

  3. This is really an issue? After 30 days, you wont even see them. Sounds like a bunch of people that just want to complain about something.

    1. Yes Joe this is really an issue, Some of us actually care about the character of the neighborhood we live in and are willing to fight with big corporations, developers and the city over things like this.

      1. An 18 inch extension of a street light is impacting the character of the neighborhood? Really…well Pinkberry, Peets, 7/11 and CVS must be sending you to the moon. But I’m sure you’re so against CVS impacting the character of the neighborhood that you do the right thing and never shop there right?

        1. Give me a break. those stores have nothing to do with this project. I could not care less about the presence of these businesses. They fill a need for something different to reflect the changing population of the North End. That chain store horse left the barn over a a decade ago. Your point would be what?

          Blame the landlords in the North End for the arrival of chain stores. Commercial space is so expensive in the North End that the only businesses that can afford to be here are restaurants and retail chains.

          These antenna are UGLY. and the city cut a deal without input from the neighborhood or being allowed to view the designs from the two other companies who were bidding for this wireless capacity expansion .

    2. Joe, I’m going to take it a step further, and I say we remove all of the lights and street signs in the North End! These are not in the historic nature of the North End. Paul Revere didn’t have street lights and cellular service, so why should we? These are atrocious and need to be removed!

  4. ahhhhhhh the big scary antennas!!!! This will probably lead to the cancelations of all the feasts! The tourist wont come! The Italian heritage will be lost! The real estate value will drop!!!! These antennas will ruin us…give me a break.

    1. Im more concerned about residents having to look for a parking spot because they dont tow violators they ticket which is cheaper than paying a parking garage and my trash bags being ripped open 2 times aweek for cans and the great stuff tenants throw out its out of control dirtiest place ive ever lived

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