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27/09/2021

Mobile phone firm says new tower will improve service in Laois, Offaly and Kildare

Laois County Council gives Vodafone green light to higher tower in border town

Vodafone Ireland Limited has received condition planning permission to build a higher tower in Portarlington which it says will improve coverage in the town and surrounding areas in Laois, Offaly and Kildare.

Laois County Council has given the green light to the facility to replace the an existing telecommunications support structure at the Eir Exchange in Ballymorris. 

The application said the overall height of the existing tower is 16.7 metres with a proposed new lattice tower to reach 25.5 metres.

The company says the new structure will carry the telecommunications equipment transferred from the existing structure and the addition of new telecommunications antennas, dishes and associated equipment, together with new ground level equipment cabinets.

Vodafone told the council that the higher structure will mean the quality of coverage for 4G and 5G reception will improve to 'good' in Portarlington. It says coverage will also improve to surrounding towns and villages such as Mountmellick, Clonbollogue and Portarlington.

It added that people living in rural areas to west and east of the border town would enjoy better service.

The firm say there is only one other site in Portarlington which can be used for mobile phone reception but because this is located on top of a building it has limitations.

Vodaphone said that while its service to Port customers is very good, the new tower would allow extra dishes to be installed. It added that it would allow Eir and Three to improve its services from fair to good.

Evidence of these claims was not provided to the council said the initial planners report on the application which also required a proper landscape and visual assessment of the higher tower. The planner said it was not a high amenity are but residents do live in the vicinity of the tower.

Vodafone submitted more information to the council in which it said the visual impact would be acceptable. It added that it had commissioned radio consultants to provide evidence of the benefit the new tower would have for coverage in the town and surrounds.

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