By Holly Cook
Roeland Park looks like it could be a local test site for a product designed to improve cell phone data signals.
A telecommunications infrastructure company interested in placing a cell signal antennae on a light pole near Birch Street and Sycamore Drive in Roeland Park gained preliminary approval from city council last week to move forward with a franchising agreement. The agreement only grants Mobilitie Investments III, LLC, permission to ask Roeland Park for antenna placement. The actual approval of the antenna would happen during a separate vote.
Mobilitie is currently interested in placing just one antenna in Roeland Park, senior permitting manager Pete Akers told the council.
The antenna‘s technology helps improve data capacity for targeted areas where there is currently a gap, Akers said. The initiative is part of a nationwide project for Sprint and piggybacks on existing cell coverage.
The antenna is roughly the size of a coffee can and attaches to the side of a light pole. The antennae requires its own power source so a KCPL box would also be added to the base of the pole.
Mobilitie will pay the city a $2,000 franchise application fee plus additional fees if and when an antenna is placed, according to a staff report.
Councilmember Jim Kelly asked if KCPL could possibly place their meter behind the pole instead of to the side.
Akers said that would be possible and noted Mobilitie was working with Leawood on a similar request.
Mobilitie has antennas located across the Kansas City Metro and will be requesting a franchise agreement from Prairie Village later this month, Akers said. Mobilitie is hoping to place 2 or 3 antennas in Prairie Village.