Verizon is “in talks” with the owner of the new tower at Mitchell Field and will likely add a site on the tower this year.
Harpswell Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said in an email on Monday, Feb. 6, that Blue Sky Towers LLC has confirmed ongoing negotiations with the carrier.
Dennis Wilkins, one of the leaders of a campaign to pressure Verizon to join the tower, said in an email that a Verizon executive told him the carrier has applied to Blue Sky to use the tower.
The executive told him that the application follows “a network study of Harpswell to determine the areas with poor coverage,” Wilkins said. The study confirmed that the Mitchell Field tower should address those gaps.
The Verizon executive and two spokespeople for Verizon did not respond to a request for comment from the Anchor.
The negotiations mark the latest progress toward a reversal for the nation’s largest wireless phone company.
In July 2022, the Harpswell Anchor reported that Verizon would not add a location on the new tower, despite complaints of poor reception. A spokesperson for Verizon said the carrier’s engineers had deemed the location unnecessary.
Two residents launched a campaign to change Verizon’s position. Paul Kittle, of Orr’s Island, led a petition drive, while Wilkins, of Bailey Island, lobbied Verizon with the help of then-state Rep. Jay McCreight, of Harpswell. The Harpswell Board of Selectmen backed the petition.
Verizon changed tack and told Wilkins it would reexamine its coverage in Harpswell and take steps to improve it.
Blue Sky Towers LLC leased the site at town-owned George J. Mitchell Field and started construction in July 2021. The tower has capacity for four carriers. AT&T was first to join.
The town had sought proposals to build a tower with the primary goal of addressing long-standing concerns about poor cellular service.
In the Verizon campaign, Kittle and Wilkins stressed the impact of poor service on public safety, because bad connections for 911 calls and other communications can delay the response to an emergency.