Coalition for exCELLent Service

MISSION:

Our mission is to secure full cell phone service to all Lakewood Ranch residents. We will do everything possible to strongly encourage the 5 individual districts to provide cell tower technology to all of Lakewood Ranch, which at the present time does not have any cell service and relies on cell towers around the periphery for service. This is why one cannot receive adequate cell signals throughout most of Lakewood Ranch.

BACKGROUND:

After hearing back from about 10% of my neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch so far, it is obvious that if you have decent or good cell service no matter the provider, IT IS PURE LUCK! If you happen to be within 1 mile of a tower, you should have service. If you are on the fringe, you may get service intermittently depending on the conditions and number of users at that time. This is why one person has service and the people directly next door do not. It is strictly based on distance and 50 feet can make a difference.

In this technology age we live in, there is no excuse for poor cell service. As an individual, I have made some headway. Let me first digress in order for you to understand the big picture without going into every detail. When I first moved in and complained to Verizon, they folloed the typical flow chart of first blaming the house. When I didn’t accept that, a specialist did a survey of the cell towers in the area. A week or so later, they came back with the results, "There is plenty of coverage in the area". So I was persistent and moved up the chain of command, and personally spoke to an engineer. He agreed there were problems and I got him to show me his map of cell towers, which as a non-expert, was very clear that cell towers are few and far between surrounding Lakewood Ranch, with none in LR. As I continued to move up the chain (this was over a two year period), I was told that Verizon was aware of the issues and had filed permits with Manatee and Lakewood Ranch and was denied. At this point, I didn't believe them and contacted the local government and was told that they do not have any records regarding Verizon filing for permits. Verizon eventually convinced me that it was the residents who were against it. I haven't even mentioned the Network Extender that Verizon sold me for $300 which converts the cell signal to wifi and internet provider. The problem with that is it did not work. I have spoken to a couple of people whose service was improved by the extender, however it again depends on the strength of the cell signal. If you are within a borderline distance, it may help you, but either way it does not solve the problem since it doesn’t improve service outside your house in the surrounding areas.

During that time, I realized that it was not the fault of the carriers. They want more cell towers. Lakewood Ranch and Manatee supposedly did not.

Please understand that I am a Chiropractic Neurologist (I am one of the few chiropractors in the US, who is board certified in chiropractic, neurology and electrodiagnosis.) If anyone is concerned about environmental factors deleterious to our health, it is I. I am not saying that cell phones are good for our health or that it does not cause cancer or other health issues. However at the present time, there are no studies that definitively conclude that cell phones and cell towers cause health issues. Prior to 9/11, I wouldn’t have started this coalition or even cared to get involved. However the importance of being proactive to prevent a major catastrophe and keeping our country and our area safe cannot be understated and this must take priority. There are many people who do not have landline phones. Because of speed dialing most don’t know telephone numbers, which are stored in their cell phones. Like them or not, we rely on our cell phones to communicate. In an emergency, whether you or a loved one is having a heart attack, a stroke, fallen, or a there is a terrorism attack, we need to be able to use our phones. That is a number one priority. Coincidentally a study just released found that 48% of Americans do not have landline phones!

If you have maintained the attitude of “no cell tower in my backyard”, please use some common sense and reconsider that attitude. If you already agree, thank you. Please send me an email right now stating that you support the building of cell antennae in Lakewood Ranch since communication during emergencies takes priority over anything else. We can then use the support to bring it up at the local meetings and to Manatee County Board of Commissioners. Of course the towers can be disguised as flagpoles, trees, etc., and placed in as many non-residential areas as possible and feasible. We will insist that they will be as inconspicuous as possible.

After hearing back from about 10% of my neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch so far, it is obvious that if you have decent or good cell service no matter the provider, IT IS PURE LUCK! If you happen to be within 1 mile of a tower, you should have service. If you are on the fringe, you may get service intermittently depending on the conditions and number of users at that time. This is why one person has service and the people directly next door do not. It is strictly based on distance and 50 feet can make a difference.

I recently attended meetings of the 5 districts and the negativity of cell towers has dimished greatly since 2008 when Summerfield voted it down. They realize that the public wants cell service and have agreed to work in conjuction with eachother, to evaluate how small cell tower technology can work in Lakewood Ranch. The towers would be placed on existing light and utility poles and look like small cabinets or trash cans built into the poles. Of course more would be necessary than if we had the macro towers.

Send me an email and I will keep you informed.