News August 22, 2019

Telecommunications Infrastructure Decision Signed

by Jackson Hole Radio News
The National Park Service has signed a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Telecommunications Infrastructure Plan/Environmental Assessment at Grand Teton National Park. The decision allows the National Park Service to issue a right-of-way permit for telecommunications infrastructure improvements, including cellular and broadband services at strategic locations in the developed areas of the park that currently have significant park staff presence and/or see a high volume of visitors. The decision also includes upgrades with the National Park Service radio system. The decision document is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/telecommunications.

Work performed by the permit requester will not be implemented until the right-of-way permit is finalized. The permit is anticipated to be issued this fall.
Park management, concessioners, and partners are increasingly relying on modern communications technology for daily operations; however, existing telecommunications services in the park are limited or nonexistent, inadequate and outdated.  Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said, “This plan will allow us to meet mission-critical park operations, as well as those of our partners in the park. These services are vital for recruiting and retaining employees and will provide connectivity for park visitors at strategic developed locations.”
The decision allows for 62.5 miles of fiber optic main line and 21.4 miles of lateral line that will be installed underground in conduit within road corridors, previously disturbed areas or other utility rights-of-way. This will allow for reliable high-speed internet access in developed areas, as well as a connection to the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
The decision also includes installation of wireless telecommunications facilities and associated infrastructure at nine developed areas in the park that currently support critical operations and/have a high volume of park visitors. The decision allows for 4G technology and does not include 5G technology.
The wireless infrastructure locations are Flagg Ranch, Colter Bay, Jackson Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain, North Jenny Lake, South Jenny Lake, Beaver Creek, Moose, and Kelly. The facilities will be constructed in a manner compatible with the character of the surrounding structures, or otherwise made unobtrusive with best available technologies, screening with vegetation or existing topography and/or other means
These services will be designed to be available in the developed areas of the park, although some spillover of wireless signals may extend into backcountry/wilderness areas. The plan is not intended to provide coverage to all road sections within the park.