SUWANEE -- Preliminary research is underway in Suwanee to potentially add mini cell towers to city property.
City Council and staff two weeks ago began discussions after Paul Reynolds representing a company called Communication Management Association contacted city staff and made a presentation about its product. The pitch is to attach cell towers or technology to city property like buildings and light poles in hopes to improve "dead" areas, high consumption spots or basements where cell service can be inconsistent, city manager Marty Allen said.
"I've seen them when they're on top of light pole or encapsulating the pole itself," Allen said. "In some of them, the light pole itself becomes a big antenna."
While Mayor Pro Tem Dan Foster, a manager of enterprise data solutions with Verizon Wireless in Alpharetta, recused himself from the discussion, the rest of the City Council gave staff a thumbs up to pursue more information about the product and potential benefits for the city.
The same company, CMA, this fall contracted with the city of Woodstock to connect the city with interested wireless providers.
There wouldn't be a cost to the city, Allen said, but could be a potential revenue source, although a more specific figure is unknown. The city could receive a percentage of all lease or license payments.
"The revenue part, certainly is always nice, that's not what would be driving it," Allen said. "What would be driving it is performance for our community, our parks, our facilities."
Each mini tower has about a 1,000 foot diameter.
If city officials are pleased with the information they receive, Allen said they would discuss it with other communities and could put out a request for proposal.
But any decision to move forward is on the city's timeline, and could take months, Allen said.
There are currently four traditional cell towers within the city limits, Allen said.