Dropped calls and poor reception from inside businesses and restaurants have been an ongoing frustration.
But help is on the way, and would have been here sooner if not for the most famous raptors of the Chesapeake, which often find cell towers prime real estate for nesting.
This year Washington College granted Verizon access to its tower near the Kent Fitness Center to install equipment that will “fill the hole in coverage,” said David Weissmann, a public relations manager for Verizon, in a brief call on Wednesday.
Work was halted in April when Verizon’s subcontractor, Mastec, discovered a pair of nesting osprey on the tower.
“Verizon follows an avian protection plan ensuring that we comply with federal, state, and local laws as we do work that would impact active nests,” Weissmann said in a followup email.
Under the Migratory Bird Protection Act, March through August is the official nesting season for osprey and “cell tower maintenance on structures with active osprey nests should not occur between April 1st and August 15th,” according the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “All nests are deemed inactive from September through February when ospreys are at their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Inactive nests do not need a migratory bird permit or permission to remove nests.”
But to make sure all was clear, Verizon had the tower inspected before work began this week.
“Following an inspection from our environmentalist, we resumed work this week and we expect the network equipment to be ready to help our customers in the coming weeks,” Weissmann said. “We have been working closely with Washington College to put equipment on their tower which will improve coverage and capacity for students, residents, businesses and first responders on our 4G LTE network.”
Weissmann estimated it would take three weeks to complete the installation.