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Utility company to provide service to underserved Nye communities

Mobilitie, the nation’s largest privately-held utility company, received an approval of the lease agreement that will allow it to provide service to underserved communities in Nye County.

Nye County commissioners on Tuesday greenlighted a 25-year master lease agreement between Nye County and Mobilitie, that will allow the company to use certain locations within the public rights of way of the county to install, maintain and operate communications facilities, according to the documents. Officials have not yet identified specific locations.

Mobilitie is headquartered in Newport Beach, California and is registered as a local exchange carrier that provides telecommunication services in Nevada. The company does installations for major carriers such as T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint.

Holly Johnson, permitting manager at Mobilitie told commissioners the company is currently working to deploy a fiber transport network which consists of small cell technology and transport towers across the nation.

“Small cells are equipment that can be attached to the top of utility poles or light poles, it’s very small equipment usually like a radiohead and an antennae,” Johnson said. “Transport towers are the tall towers you are used to seeing, however we have a new slick slim-line design, so they are not the normal multi-ray palm tree towers that you are used to seeing at all. This is a slim-line, slick pole.”

“Most people these days have a smartphone, and nowadays, that’s rarely used only for cellphone calls. It’s used for data consumption. You need that connectivity, but you need to have the infrastructure in place first,” she said.

“We’ve taken a look at the coverage in Nye County and we would like to serve the locations where there’s a gap in coverage. This agreement will allow us to do that.”

According to the agreement, the company will pay Nye County a $1,000 annual license fee for wireless communication equipment on a pole owned by the licensor and $500 for the additional carrier that utilizes such a facility.

Robert List, a consultant for Mobilitie, said the company is currently looking at four proposed transport sites, all of which are located in underserved areas. Company officials didn’t specify the locations of those sites.

Commissioner John Koenig proposed limiting the number of towers to four, but List said the move would have “no public advantage.”

“No company such as Mobilitie would come in and just put in proliferation of towers, there would be no point in it,” List said. “The company is driven by the market demand of where calls are being dropped or where there’s insufficient coverage. So the idea that they would just come in and put towers on every corner is just not realistic in the real marketplace. This is an expensive installation,” he said.

Milan Dimic, director of information technology for Nye County said: “They can’t put any tower up without going with the standard permitting and the county still has the right to refuse any site that they may request based on the number of different reasons.”

Commissioners approved the agreement 3-2, with Koenig and Butch Borasky casting their votes against it. Officials said the company will also have to get approval of Nye County Public Works Director Tim Carlo for their infrastructure.

“If our public works director thinks that one of them is inappropriate, they have the opportunity to bring it back to us and ask us to take a look at it,” Wichman said.

Borasky said he will need additional time to review the agreement.

“Believe me, we will never violate the trust you are putting in us,” List said. “And we will prove to you and your constituents the value that we will bring to your county.”

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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