MARLBORO -- The Selectboard and the Planning Commission have called a special public meeting for Tuesday, Oct. 29, to speak with officials from VTel about the company's plans to build a 140 foot communications pole off of Old Hogback Road in Marlboro.
The meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the Marlboro Elementary School, will also give Marlboro residents a chance to talk with VTel staff about the ongoing work to bring more high speed broadband service to the region.
VTel wants to apply for a Certificate of Public Good from the Public Service Board for the Marlboro tower and is looking for an endorsement from the Selectboard and Planning Commission.
Planning Commission Chairman Matt Tell said the commission was largely supportive of the tower but wanted to meet with VTel officials about some questions and concerns the commission had about the project.
"We feel like there are some issues that need to be addressed," Tell said. "The town does not object to the tower but we just want to know about their plans for more broadband coverage throughout town."
VTel recently purchased the property at 269 Old Hogback Road.
The tower will be a major part of the company's drive to build out a new high speed, wireless Internet system across Vermont.
It will also help Green Mountain Power extend its Smart Grid system for its customers.
At the site on Old Hogback Road VTel also wants to build an equipment cabinet on a concrete pad, and include a propane-fueled emergency generator.
The tower eventually will include nine panel antennas and three microwave dish antennas.
Tell said Marlboro officials are looking for more complete information on VTel's overall plan, and the town wants to know how the Marlboro tower will help more residents get high speed Internet service.
There also are some Marlboro housing numbers on the application that do not make sense, he said.
It appears as though the tower will only help a small handful of residents who are not receiving high speed service.
And Tell said the Planning Commission also has concerns with the tower design, which does not conform with the town's zoning regulations
"We want to know how this is going to help the whole town of Marlboro," Tell said. "Right now it does not seem like this is going to cover more than 29 or 30 homes."
Marlboro has until Nov. 15 to provide comments on the proposal to the PSB.
VTel Vice President of Business Development Diane Guite; said she would be at Tuesday's meeting.
She said the tower would reach about 1,900 rooftops in Marlboro, Searsburg, Halifax and Whitingham and it is an important hub site for the company's statewide project.
"I am looking forward to addressing questions of those interested in learning more about our project," she said. "Our immediate, most pressing goal is to bring high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved communities in Vermont."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com; or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer