Primer offers tips for community leaders, residents, service providers
SAN JOSE, Calif. – August 7, 2008 – Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network announced today it has published a new report on regional cell phone service that details the latest information on coverage issues and offers tips for improving cell reception in the region.
The 16-page report, now accessible on the Joint Venture web site at www.jointventure.org, is a primer for government officials, community leaders, service providers, businesses and residents on ways everyone can help to identify problems and improve cell phone service in Silicon Valley.
“It’s ironic that we live in the technology capital of the world yet our cell phone service is not up to global standards,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture. “But the reasons are not technical. The reasons have to do with the way we make decisions in city halls throughout the region. Until now, a strong regional voice has been missing from those deliberations. Joint Venture intends to change that.”
The report lists four major reasons for spotty service, noting the original network was designed to serve business districts and travel corridors, not residential communities, and that the growth in users and new data services like email, Web search, mapping, photo exchange and video is overloading a network designed to handle voice communications only. Further, the permit process for carriers to expand coverage with new or improved facilities is slow and cumbersome.
Two common myths residents cite to stall cell phone service improvements – that there are potential health hazards from cell site equipment and that the sites will be unattractive, spoil their view or reduce property values – are dispelled in the report.
To address cell phone service issues, Joint Venture asks residents to report coverage problems not only to their service providers but to their elected representatives and on the Joint Venture Web site and other Web-based reporting sites. It urges carriers to work with cities and counties to identify areas with poor coverage and develop strategies for filling them in with cell sites that conform to local guidelines for aesthetics and safety. And it asks city and county leaders to help their staff fast track applications for cell sites that meet guidelines.
The cell phone study was headed by Joint Venture vice president and COO Seth Fearey, and project co-chairs, Dean Warshawsky of the Los Altos Town Council and Ellen Becht, head of enterprise risk management for SVB Financial.