Verizon delivered a portable tower know as a "cell site on wheels" -- free of charge -- to Cindy McCain's property in June in response to an online request from Cindy McCain's staff early last year. Such devices are usually reserved for restoring service when cell coverage is knocked out during emergencies, such as hurricanes.Uh, that's illegal, isn't it? Aren't these vendors providing special favors to a sitting US senator? Although they claim it isn't special consideration, the beneficiaries of this corporate largesse are few and far between.
In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon's offer. "This is an unusual situation," said AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones. "You can't have a presidential nominee in an area where there is not cell coverage."
Over the course of the past year, Cindy McCain had offered land for a permanent cell tower and Verizon embarked on an expensive process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits even though few people other than the McCains would benefit from the tower.
...[C]overage maps submitted by Verizon to the county show that the tower would fill gaps in unpopulated parts of Coconino National Forest and on about 20 parcels of land, including a handful of residences, and two small businesses open only by appointment. "We are not big cell phone users," said neighbor Linda Kappel, who runs a small gift shop.So why do it?
Three telecommunications specialists consulted by The Post said the proposed site covers so few users that it is unlikely to generate enough traffic to justify the investment. Robb Alarcon, an industry specialist who helps plan tower placement, said the proposed location appeared to be a "strategic build," free-of-charge coverage to high-priority customers. A former Verizon executive vice president, who asked not to be named because he worked for the company, agreed with Alarcon, saying, "It was a VIP kind of thing."It's good to be the King.