By way of background, following the December 2018 adoption of the new Wireless Telecommunication Facility Law, the Town Board in January 2019 established the Wireless Facilities Working Group (WFWG).
A key purpose of the law is to “establish uniform standards for the siting, design, permitting, maintenance, and use of wireless telecommunication facilities in the Town of Bedford” recognizing that cell service deficiencies may exist in certain areas in the Town and that such deficiencies could potentially affect public safety including the ability of the Town’s Police Department, Fire Departments, Volunteer Ambulance Corps and other emergency responders to communicate in the most effective manner with one another and with those who need emergency aid and for those who need emergency aid to communicate with emergency services.
The WFWG, which is advisory to the Town Board, is charged with developing a consolidated, comprehensive and cost effective approach to the wireless telecommunications needs of the Town and its residents.
To carry out its charge, the WFWG through a request for proposal process, recommended to the Town Board and the Town Board approved the retention of nationally renowned telecommunications consultants CityScape and Federal Engineering to create a Master Plan for such wireless telecommunications facilities and needs. In its proposal which the Town adopted, CityScape described its background in “actively assisting municipalities nationwide in the assessment and studies of wireless infrastructure to enable communities to navigate through the ever-growing and changing telecommunications industry.”
CityScape is partnering with Federal Engineering, Inc. to produce a town-wide study that will incorporate emergency radio communications and wireless telecommunication infrastructure into a comprehensive plan with the intent to prioritize and preserve Town aesthetics, property values and the historical nature of the community. Federal Engineering specializes in planning, design, vendor evaluation and contract negotiations, and system implementation and test oversight to enhance emergency radio communications.
The Town awarded the consultancy last summer and CityScape and Federal Engineering are well along first in identifying the existing facilities following which is to identify areas of service gaps or deficiencies.
CityScape has completed the first draft of gap maps for the commercial service providers and CityScape and FE are collaborating on the best way to share their data to show common gaps for both public safety and commercial wireless providers.
There will be a second public workshop to present the findings and share possible solutions with the community.
On November 20, 2019 the Town of Bedford Wireless Facilities Working Group presented the first of a series of meeting to introduce the development of a Town of Bedford Wireless Master Plan. The committee is charged with reviewing the Towns approach to all wireless communications with in the TOB. This includes not only cell service but also public safety communications (Fire, Police, EMS, and public works).