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Letters to the Editor: Update on ‘Antenna Wars’

— The Jan. 17 article "Antenna Wars" and a Jan. 24 Letter to the Editor both help residents of Mount Vernon District understand past work of the Mount Vernon Council's Telecommunication Service Committee. The committee was formed in response to a request by Supervisor Hyland.

Residents should, however, be aware of the following additional information provided to the committee.

  • The objections to and lack of tower sites is not peculiar to Mount Vernon District. Each of the other eight Fairfax County Districts have the same problems.

  • Since 2005, four Fairfax County Districts, Dranesville, Providence, Sully and Hunter Mill, are being provided with antenna mounted atop telephone poles approximately every 1/4 mile instead of towers every two miles. This technology is known as the Distributed Antenna System or DAS for short and is less visible but more expensive. Six such systems have been installed in the four districts and two more are being considered.

  • DAS antenna in Fairfax County are installed by the Crown Castle or American Tower Corporations and leased by AT&T Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Cricket Phone Companies. Verizon has currently elected not to use DAS. A lease by one of the above listed companies must occur before a corporation will plan for DAS. They have, however, shown the committee that DAS will work in Mount Vernon District.

Committee members are now pursuing why DAS is used only in the northern portions of Fairfax County.

I hope this brief update helps.