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School board panel's hearing of WiMax plan to continue [The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.]
[October 21, 2009]

School board panel's hearing of WiMax plan to continue [The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.]

(Telegraph (Nashua, NH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 20--NASHUA -- A school board committee discussion of a proposal to install telecommunications towers on the grounds of two Nashua schools will continue Wednesday evening.

Goodman Networks has asked officials to consider a proposal to build two 150-foot WiMax towers on school district properties -- one at Birch Hill Elementary School, the other at Nashua High School North.

The towers could bring in as much as $48,000 in revenue to the school district from the rental fees. The towers could be disguised as trees or flag poles, and their bases would be within 50- by 50-foot fenced-in enclosures.

The meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Nashua North board meeting room.

At a meeting of the committee last month, some people turned out to speak against the proposal, citing concerns about health issues.

In a written response to the committee, Nashua police Sgt. William Mansfield, who is in charge of negotiating proposals for cell towers in the city, downplayed the health risks.

"There is no evidence that the emissions from towers are harmful," Mansfield wrote. "Even the American Cancer Society admits that there is no evidence of harmful radiation from towers." Mansfield, who will be at Wednesday's meeting, said there is also no evidence that property values have declined after cell towers are placed in a neighborhood.

The committee took no action at its meeting in September. Once the committee takes action on the proposal, it will go to the full Board of Education.

If approved by the school board, the proposal would still require the approval of the city's planning and zoning boards, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration.

In 2006, the city's Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected a plan by T-Mobile USA Inc. to build a tower on common land at the Coburn Woods condo development, in the same neighborhood as the Birch Hill school.

Goodman is a consulting firm hired by Clearwire Corp., a wireless broadband Internet provider. Clearwire would own and operate the towers.

Clearwire has many investors and partners, including Sprint, Google and Intel. The Nashua towers are part of its move into the Boston market, which is scheduled for the end of 2010.

WiMax is a much stronger version of Wi-Fi and provides wireless Internet service faster than many types of broadband available through land-line telephone or cable-modem connections, the company says.

To see more of The Telegraph, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2009, The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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