Municipalities lag on action over cell tower requests

The cantons of Coronado, Dota, Flores, Garabito, Heredia, Limón, Pérez Zeledón, San Isidro and Sarapiquí have not yet passed regulations for installing cell telephone towers for the benefit of the two private companies that have set up their operations in the country.

Even those cantons that have regulations are moving slowly. The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones said that the two private telephone companies, Movistar and Claro, only have 65 percent coverage of the country because of the absence of cell towers.

The towers are controversial, and the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, as a government agency, did not need municipal permission to erect its towers. But it will not share them with the private firms.

The cantons of Barva, Flores, Santa Bárbara, Santo Domingo, Curridabat, La Unión and Montes de Oca have 100 percent of their cell tower requests pending, said the Superintendencia. Tibás, Escazú, Santa Ana, Alajuela, Oreamuno, Aserrí, Carrillo, Corredores, Esparza and Zarcero still are considering 70 percent of their requests, it added.

At this point 62 of the country’s 81 cantons have regulations about cell towers, up from 29 when the contracts were signed permitting the two firms to operate here in May 2011, the Superintendencia said.

Some 17 cantons have approved the requests presented to them. A total of 136 applications have been approved in these areas.

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