AT&T cellphone users in Oak Park might be seeing fewer dropped calls by the time next year rolls around.
That’s because the Dallas-based telecommunication company plans to install cell towers atop a building it owns at 714 Lake St., just east of Oak Park Avenue. After the antennae are up and running in the first few months of 2012, customers should expect noticeably better service, said Jim Kimberly, a spokesman for AT&T.
“This is part of an ongoing commitment and dedication of resources that we’re making to improve the network,” he said. “From time to time or place to place, people have said, ‘Hey, we think you can do better,’ and that’s what we’re doing. We view this as good news for our customers in Oak Park.”
The Oak Park village board gave its approval to the new towers on Monday, with no discussion. They did so after the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals gave its blessing, too, back in August. Altogether, AT&T is installing nine antennae atop its four-story Lake Street office building, which will reach to 76 feet at their highest point (31 feet higher than allowed).
Alan Raphael, a member of the zoning board who led the meeting last month, said testimony from residents about AT&T service issues in Oak Park was convincing. In addition, zoning board members didn’t believe the towers would be an unsightly presence in the neighborhood.
“This doesn’t really stick out particularly, and it’s in a place where the public isn’t really going to be affected by it,” he said.
Kimberly could not say exactly why AT&T has service issues in Oak Park, or quantify how much coverage will improve after the towers are installed.
AT&T customers who experience dropped or failed calls and poor voice quality can call 611 to speak to a company rep — or download a mobile app called “Mark the Spot,” Kimberly said, which allows you to file reports about service issues or enter your zip code to see what AT&T is doing in the area to address coverage issues.