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LA City Council Eyes Tougher Limits On Wireless Transmitters

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(CBS) Pete Demetriou
Pete Demetriou is a native Angeleno and he brings a unique knowledg...
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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Residents in the city of Los Angeles may soon get the chance to weigh in on where cell phone providers can set up wireless transmitters.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports an upcoming decision from the City Council could potentially impact the quality of cell phone service citywide.

A new ordinance passed unanimously by LA City Council still has to be approved in a second reading, but would mandate cellular service providers to have a permit from the city – or in some cases even notify the neighbors of the installation – if they want to put up a transmitter on a pole on a public right of way.

The exploding popularity of smartphones, iPads, and a host of other bandwidth-hungry wireless devices have forced service carriers to employ a number of various facades to conceal their unsightly cell signal relay stations, including palm trees, flagpoles and other structures.

But the increased demand for better wireless coverage has not left cities completely powerless in their fight against an onslaught of new towers: back in October 2009, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Palos Verdes Estates had the right to reject two proposed cellular towers owned by Sprint.

Downtown resident Evan Emery said while public feedback should always be welcome, there could be unintended consequences.

“As a consumer, you’d like to have the best service that you can, and everything should be easily expandable,” Emery said.

The Council is expected to revisit the measure in the next few weeks.

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