BY MAIRE O’NEILL
For several years people in Los Alamos and White Rock have wondered how long it would take before local cellular phone service would be relieved of the well-known “dead spots” in the area and finally it looks like things are looking up.
Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Los Alamos Field Office announced the issuance of a “categorical exclusion” to the National Environmental Policy Act which will allow the improvement of LANL’s current cellular and radio communications capabilities. The project will provide a dedicated LANL cellular service through upgrades to existing infrastructure and expansion of the LANL two-way radio system.
The categorical exclusion, signed by NNSA NEPA compliance officer Kristen Dors, says NNSA must ensure that LANL operations are conducted in a safe, secure and efficient manner.
It states that the purpose of the project is to improve the current cellular and telecommunications network with upgrades to existing infrastructure, and the construction and maintenance of new cellular towers. To improve cellular service to support LANL operations the DOE/NNSA will:
- Support the creation of a dedicated LANL cellular service;
- Enhance existing cellular/Distribution Antenna System (DAS) sites;
- Construct and maintain one new cellular tower in Technical Area (TA) 15 and two new cellular towers in TA 53, and
- Lease space on a San Ildefonso Pueblo cellular tower at the Totavi gas station off NM 502 to support LANL’s expansion of their two-way radio system.
Losing calls or having no service on routes in and out of Los Alamos County will no longer be the case thanks to the proposed project.