Santa Fe is known for a lot of things. Unfortunately, spotty cellphone service is one of them.
It’s a problem for residents, tourists and most importantly first responders. Now the city has a solution that they hope won’t be an eyesore.
“Calls drop at random points in the city,” said Lisa Garcia of Santa Fe.
From uploading that perfect picture to making a call in town, people in Santa Fe are having serious issues with their cellphone service.
“It used to be if you were in the city it wouldn’t drop a call,” Garcia said. “Now if you’re in the city it can drop a call at anytime.”
“I have Verizon cell phone service and it is really crazy because it does not work downtown,” said Brent Soloway of Santa Fe. “You cannot access data if you’re in downtown Santa Fe.”
In the past, the Capital City declared an emergency over cell service as first responders were worried about the impact on 911 calls. Now, the city is taking action to fix the problem.
At Thursday night’s meeting, the planning commission approved a project that would add multiple Verizon towers around town.
“Everybody switched to Verizon because it was the best network,” Garcia said. “Then the past, I want to say two or three years, we’ve had a lot of dropped calls everywhere in the city.”
The main project would be at the Fort Marcy Park. Verizon wants to construct a tower alternative, meaning they would take down a light pole on the east end of the ball field and replace it with a similar 72-foot, so-called stealth tower light pole that will be embedded with telecommunication equipment.
“I was really excited to hear that,” Soloway said. “I mean were like in a state where there’s so many hundreds of miles without cell phone service, so it’s crazy that in downtown Santa Fe, our Capital City, we don’t have cell phone service with Verizon.”
This idea has had extra hurdles because there’s a 35-foot height limit in this area.
The city says it will improve wireless speeds and capacity in downtown Santa Fe and the Fort Marcy area.
Because the Fort Marcy cell tower is on city grounds, the proposal has to go through city council. The planning commission hopes to have approval within 30 days.