‘What God hath wrought’ . . . over telegraph by Samuel Morse, 1844

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

‘Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you’ . . . by telephone to his assistant, Alexander Graham Bell in 1876

‘Duh, hello?’ cell phone user, 21st Century

New Analysis

REELSBORO- Monstrous cell towers pop up, seemingly overnight. They are everywhere. Even tiny Reelsboro now has a new one – a U.S. Cellular installation, located on a 100 foot by 100 foot plot, in the corner of a 50-plus acre agricultural field. The site, 581 Lee Landing Road, is being leased from a local property owner. The structure, built by Seven Springs contractor New Horizon Towers, went from zero to 250 feet above T.O.C. (top of concrete) in less than seven weeks.

Thus far, the only revenue to the county – paid by U.S. Cellular – is a one-time building permit fee of $ 151.88. Total cost of construction is a mystery, but the permit application reveals a ballpark estimate of $125,000. The actual value – presumably to be taxed at some point – will be determined by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. However, that figure is off-limits to regular Joe Blows like you and me – thanks to a 2015 rule change.


A crane stayed busy at the site.

In a recent email, George Hermane, manager of the Public Service Company appraisal group, explained the process of valuing cell towers:

The cell towers are appraised using factors that produce a value based on the tower type (guyed, self-standing, mono-pole, etc.), the height of a tower and the year that the tower was constructed.

Telecommunications experts estimate the country now has well over 300,000 cell tower sites. And, over a million if you count antennas attached to rooftops, flagpoles, billboards, utility poles, and what have you!

A cone in the lower right corner is actually a six gigahertz antenna, awaiting a hoist to the tower top. Data will be beamed from there to another tower site in Newport.

So, youngsters, you can forget about kite flying in this neck of the Pamlico County woods — lest the airborne gizmo become tangled amongst antennas. Heck, do today’s kids even have a vague awareness of kites? They seem to be far too busy staring down at their smart phones – all powered by tall transmitting mechanisms on steroids.