TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cellphone Bill Seeks to Open Tunnel Connections

Cellphone Bill Seeks to Open Tunnel Connections

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 25 Jun 2006 11:39:35 -0400

Turnpike Authority given a deadline
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff

Drivers who lose their cellphone signals navigating the Big Dig
tunnels may soon get relief, after frustrated lawmakers sent a bill to
Governor Mitt Romney's desk ordering the Massachusetts Turnpike
Authority to provide cellular phone service by the end of the year.

The measure, attached as an amendment to the $450 million economic
stimulus bill, directs the Turnpike Authority to sign agreements for
wireless service in the Interstate 93 tunnel and the Interstate 90
connector by Dec. 31 or the state Department of Telecommunications and
Energy will take the matter out of the authority's hands.

The DTE would hold hearings and then set the maximum rate the Turnpike
Authority can charge the wireless companies for using the tunnels,
making future negotiations over fees unnecessary. The companies have
been negotiating with the authority over rental fees for three years,
infuriating many legislators who travel the tunnel daily.

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