County considers permits for cell towers in West, South Routt

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— Even as rumors of the new iPhone 5 launch date began to crystallize this week, AT&T is continuing its push in Routt County to make its wireless network capable of supporting 4G LTE technologies that could be part of Apple’s newest release, which could be announced next week.

The Routt County Planning Commission is scheduled to hear permit applications from AT&T/New Cingular Wireless at 6 p.m. Thursday for new cell towers in western and southern Routt County that would support faster 4G LTE connectivity. The Planning Commission voted to approve three other similar cell towers in August and tabled a fourth. The newest applications are for towers near Wolf Mountain and Toponas.

The website CNET is reporting that Apple is expected to make a major announcement Sept. 12, and speculation is that it’s the iPhone 5. CNET cites an industry analyst who expects LTE connectivity to be part of the new phone.

AT&T/New Cingular Wireless is in the process of gaining county support for nine, 100-foot cell towers across the county that would meet the minimum requirements for launching 4G LTE service here. That could be accomplished by the end of the year, or soon afterward, according to Steamboat attorney Cari Hermacinski. She is working with AT&T/New Cingular Wireless engineers to locate and obtain cell tower sites and bring them through the county permit process.

Hermacinski told the Steamboat Today that the company is seeking to locate cell tower sites along the two major highways in Routt County and close to municipalities. Those plans could fill the gap in cellphone coverage in Hayden and between Hayden and Milner in Mount Harris Canyon.

CNET reported Tuesday that Apple sent out official invitations that day for an event with the teaser “It’s almost here” and a shadowy numeral five beneath it.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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