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Downtown Minneapolis' Cell Service Is About to Get a Lot Better

City Council is about to allow phone companies to install antennas on city-owned poles and street lights

City Council is about to allow phone companies to install antennas on city-owned poles and street lights

We have some good news for those who have struggled with a spotty connection while relying on Google Maps to navigate downtown Minneapolis.

Wireless companies want to install a network of antennas around downtown to provide better data (3G and 4G) service in tough spots or during events with heavy use.

See also: Keith Ellison Is Pushing to Add Mobile Internet to Net Neutrality

Yesterday City Council initially approved a new agreement that would allow cell companies to install the antennas on city-owned poles and street lights in exchange for a one-time $4,000 fee and additional annual fee.

The city allowed companies to test out the antennas during the MLB All-Star game last summer and there were no problems, so now it will roll out on a larger scale once full City Council approves the agreement next Friday.

One Council Member, Kevin Reich, says he heard some complaint about "visual clutter" from the new antennas, but the city doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

Federal law would allow phone companies to just erect its own poles if the city didn't agree to rent out space.

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.