RANDOLPH, NJ - Due to the increase of cell phone usage around the county, Verizon Wireless may be increasing coverage in Randolph Township by installing nodes throughout the township. Representatives presented examples to the township council, explaining how each node improves coverage for approximately 1,000 feet and would manage the gaps in service caused by the terrain in Randolph.

The “node” includes the antenna and the equipment box with the radio. Representatives Kevin Russ and Greg Meese provided photos of other installations in NJ where both components were attached to an existing wooden utility pole owned by Verizon or the equipment box was placed on the ground with the antenna on the pole.

“JCP&L will not allow us to put an equipment box on their pole,” Russ explained. If the area requires a new pole, one will be placed across the street.

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“There are two purposes [for a node placement]: a small gap in coverage or if there’s an area with high capacity demand, like around a regional shopping center,” Meese added. “One of these sites would absorb the usage there and help the rest of the network function better.”

Township Attorney Keli Gallo reminded the council and the public that while they can make suggestions on the look of the node and wires, “we don’t have the right to tell them not to put them up.”

Meese said this is a “proactive consent,” and Verizon does not have particular locations in mind at this time. However, Roxbury recently added only three nodes to increase cell reception in the area, and these representatives do not anticipate many more being needed in Randolph.

“So we’re not talking about hundreds of these,” Mayor Christine Carey clarified.

Meese and Russ explained the installation will match the wires already in place in the neighborhood. For example, if the current electrical wires are above ground and black, the Verizon wires will be as well.

“There’s language in the agreement that requires them to work with the town on those things and issues to make it blend in with the neighborhood as much as possible, and they don’t have a problem doing that,” Gallo said.

The representatives assured the council that if wires are already underground in a neighborhood, Verizon and JCP&L will install wires underground. Councilman Mike Guadagno suggested all the wires be placed underground.

“I want to see the wires under the ground, and I don’t want to see these big cabinets all over the place,” he said. 

Township Manager Stephen Mountain also updated the council on the construction of a new cell tower on municipal property.

“To date, they have not signed a contract with any carrier,” Mountain said. “They have expressed an interest to sign with Verizon Wireless, but they’ve been back-and-forth in negotiations.”

The town cannot control these negotiations, Mountain explained. Once Gaelic Communications has one contract, they will move ahead with construction of the tower.