The Loudoun Communications Commission, acting on a request from the office of Catoctin District Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R), unanimously passed a statement finding “no evidence” that AT&T’s proposed facility on Short Hill will provide or improve telecommunications services to Loudoun.
Commissioner Mark Foster (Blue Ridge) checked a wide array of industry databases and records for any evidence the facility would provide telephone, internet, or television to Loudoun, but could find nothing.
The Planning Commission’s findings for approval in granting the Short Hill permit include that “the proposed expansion of the existing telephone transmission utility substation will provide modern, effective and efficient telecommunications infrastructure and enhance the overall communications network within the County, to the benefit of area residents, businesses, and governments.”
Foster said that if AT&T had any intention of connecting the proposed facility to Loudoun’s networks, there would be evidence by now.
“There would be some indications of it, and there clearly isn’t,” Foster said. “Even just within the context of the application itself.” He pointed out that in addition to the lack of any evidence that AT&T plans to connect its facility to any wired or wireless communications providers, there are no new easements or rights-of-way associated with the project.
Foster’s research found, among other things, that there is no record of AT&T attempting to connect the facility to the public switched telephone network, the world’s network of national, regional, and local telephone providers.
“Regarding wired or wireless (cellular) telecommunications, Loudoun would only benefit from the facility, directly or indirectly, if and only if the facility existed in the public switched telephone network (PSTN),” the commission wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors accompanying its resolution. “Otherwise, any telecommunications services delivered from the facility would only benefit private customers or AT&T internally.”
AT&T declined an invitation to speak at the commission meeting, and two people associated with the project were in attendance but did not speak. An AT&T spokesperson has contacted Loudoun Now but has not yet provided a statement.