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Tower approved for improved internet service on Prudence

American Broadband will erect 70-foot antenna tower at Portsmouth transfer station

By Jim McGaw
Posted 7/28/20

PORTSMOUTH — High-speed internet is coming to more homes to Prudence Island, thanks to a decision by the Town Council Monday night and efforts by an East Bay company.

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Tower approved for improved internet service on Prudence

American Broadband will erect 70-foot antenna tower at Portsmouth transfer station

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — High-speed internet is coming to more homes to Prudence Island, thanks to a decision by the Town Council Monday night and efforts by an East Bay company.

The council voted unanimously to approve Bristol-based American Broadband’s proposal to erect a 70-foot, free-standing antenna tower on town-owned land at the northwest corner of the transfer station on Hedly Street. 

The tower will be built at no cost to the town, and American Broadband will lease the land for $1 per year.

Currently, the island has broadband coverage from the northwest side of the island at Rossi’s down the east side of Prudence to Sandy Point, where the lighthouse is located. However, some spots are unable to see American Broadband’s Bristol access point at 400 Metacom Ave. due to elevation, trees or homes blocking the signal.

“We’d like to expand our reach onto Prudence, so to do that we need some space on Portsmouth,” Art Shenberger, the principle behind American Broadband, told the council. The company has made an investment into the service, and was hoping the town to do the same for its citizens on Prudence, he said.

The tower would not be built near any homes, nor would it pose a nuisance to the town or residents, he said. “There are no moving parts on it that would make any noise,” said Mr. Shenberger.

Local resident Ted Pietz fully supported the plan, but urged the town to protect itself in case “this tower becomes obsolete” down the road.

Council member Keith Hamilton said the council could make sure to stipulate — as it did with the newer wind turbine at the high school — that money is set aside to remove the structure in case American Broadband went out of business at some point.

Another council member, Len Katzman, said Mr. Shenberger’s proposal was a “compelling presentation, but it’s not a contract.” 

As part of the motion to approve, the council will vote again to approve a formal contract after it’s drawn up by town administration.

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.