Muncie drivers may notice something out of the ordinary as they go through some areas of town. Silver poles, up to 120 feet tall, about the height of a 10-story building, are popping up in the Muncie area. There is one in front of the Best Western hotel off of Bethel and one by the Kia and American Chevrolet dealerships.
These poles are cell phone towers that may give people better coverage in Muncie. Mobilitie is the name of the company building these poles. It says it is the largest, privately- held, telecommunications infrastructure company in the United States. Mobilitie says most cell phone companies will use these poles, but it is not saying which ones.
Colleen Williams, Mobilitie’s public relations senior account executive, said that these towers are actually going to be beneficial to the community.
“Transport poles are the future for communities that seek intelligent ways to increase coverage and capacity quickly and efficiently for citizens,” Williams said. “This approach delivers high-bandwidth connectivity without digging up roadways and laying costly fiber optic lines.”
To get permission to build the towers, Mobilitie had to fill out right of way use applications. They ask questions like where the pole will be built and how big it will be.
Though the company must fill out a right of way use application, property owners are not notified when or where they will put in. The city has a right of way anywhere, except on private property. Businesses are not private property, according to Linda Hayes, a Muncie Street Department employee.
A right of way does not mean that if the city wants to build something, such as a sidewalk, where the poles are, they can’t move it. “If they have to move the pole because the city has to build something, it’s at their cost,” Hayes said.
There are more poles scheduled to be built on McGalliard within the next few months.