Log Cabin Chronicles

A clear choice for Vermont Verizon

CHRIS BRAITHWAITE
Publisher, The Chronicle
Barton, Vermont

POSTED: 11.23.06

The choice that has been offered to Verizon Wireless in Barton, Vermont, seems childishly simple on its face.

The tower could go on Barton Mountain, where it is stubbornly opposed by a significant group of residents, and where it would provide no service to that Black Hole of any kind of wireless reception, Barton Village.

Or it could join other antennas on Burton Hill, atop a silo that already supports three antennas and would, we are told, provide some cell phone coverage to the long-suffering residents of the village.

How can that be a tough call?

People can reasonably be asked to put up with an eyesore if it does them some tangible good. That's a compromise that has been made between the environment and our personal convenience with trains, automobiles, airplanes, electric power, the telephone, microwave communication, satellite communication, and now the cell phone.

It's close to inconceivable that we would live without any one of those conveniences just because we don't like the look of them. But it's also dumb to view them as inevitable progress that can't be challenged on any reasonable grounds.

We know, for example, that the microwave industry tried very hard to cover up and foreclose discussion of the very real health effects of that radiation, at close range.

That makes us suspicious of the odd legislative fiat that, when considering the location of cell towers, potential health effects can't be put on the table.

At any rate, most of the world now communicates by cell phone, and large chunks of the Northeast Kingdom are decidedly backward, for better or worse, because the damn things don't work here.

Verizon has also been inexcusably slow to extend high-speed Internet access to its rural customers in the Kingdom.

If Verizon wants to put a tower in Barton, that deserves the kind of careful discussion it's getting.

But if there's a suitable location available that would improve service to the community itself, there should be no discussion at all. If Verizon opts against such a site, they should be sent packing.


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Copyright © 2006 Chris Braithwaite/Barton Chronicle/11.06