Town Council Gets Update on Communications Center

The Londonderry Town Council received some good news about the Communications System Upgrade during its meeting on Monday night, Sept. 10.

Londonderry’s Finance Director, Doug Smith, shared what he felt was some pretty good news in regard to the Communications System Upgrade that voters had passed on the March Town Warrant.

Accompanying Smith for the presentation were Londonderry Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Mague and Battalion Chief of Operations Michael McQuillen.

Smith started out by reminding the council that the cost of the upgrade was going to be about $3 million dollars.

That amount would be drawn from the town’s unassigned fund balance account, $2.3 million, as well as $200,000 from the Police Special Detail Fund. The remainder would be funded by the proceeds received from the sale of the existing cell tower. The sale of that cell tower was estimated to be about $500,000, but when the actual sale took place, it wound up being $520,000, giving the town a surplus in revenue.

To achieve the new upgrade, that one tower will now be replaced with three towers within the town boundaries.

As a way to save additional expenses, Smith explained, the project team thought about soliciting a third party to build the towers for the town.

That being, a cellular communications provider, the group began putting information together to approach some of these companies.

But before they had a chance to pitch the companies, the town was approached by Viridi Wireless LLC, a partner of AT&T. AT&T was recently award the nationwide FIRSTNET Project, which is upgrading the national infrastructure of emergency communications nationwide.

Viridi expressed interest in installing not only the three that are planned, but an additional fourth tower, one of them would be near the Londonderry Town office.

Smith went on to explain that if Viridi Wireless would be constructing the towers, the town would avoid that cost, which is a significant portion of the total for the upgrade.

In addition, Smith explained, once these towers are constructed, there would be space to lease space to other cellular providers, thus bringing additional revenue to the town of Londonderry. “There would be the potential of providing space for a total of five other providers, with AT&T being one of those.” he said.

Smith went on to say that the representative from Viridi thought there would be a high likelihood of multiple carriers to have interest in this space, which would create a revenue stream.

When asked about the amount on the potential savings, Smith recalled the amount to be about $300,000.

Residential use will also be helpful toward eliminating dead zones in town.

As a result of this potential construction, the town would still own the property and would be leasing the tower.

Viridi will be doing a site visit next week to see how feasible the project is.

The communications project was scheduled to be completed by August or September of next year.

The council was excited in the opportunity, but cautioned Smith to engage the Town Counsel, and make sure there are no potential problems.

In other business:

  • During the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, the town council approved receiving a grant for Londonderry to participate in a three-day training exercise of the Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit. The total cost for the town to participate in the exercise is $14,927. The grant that was requested was for $12,546 and the Southern New Hampshire Operations Unit itself is funding the remainder of the amount, thus there will be no cost to the town.

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