Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lowell-area AT&T customers will notice faster service

03/23/2016 01:54:16 PM EDT

Lowell-area AT&T customers will notice faster service
by Grant Welker

LOWELL -- AT&T cellphone customers now have faster service in the Lowell area as the wireless provider spends $575 million upgrading its equipment across the state. 

Company representatives gathered Wednesday with state Rep. Tom Golden, a Lowell Democrat who chairs the Legislature's Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utility and Energy. Standing across the street from a 85-foot cellphone tower on Tanner Street, Patricia Jacobs, the president of AT&T New England, said the company has been adding equipment across Massachusetts to improve service for customers. 
State Rep. Tom Golden and
AT&T New England President Patricia Jacobs
outside the company's new cellphone antennas
on Tanner Street in Lowell Wednesday

AT&T added antennas and radios at the Tanner Street tower in October, and to a tower off Andover Street in Tewksbury by the Lowell line in January. 

Adding the two new towers to its network fills in what were before spotty areas of 4G LTE service for AT&T customers. The Tanner Street tower has enough capacity to handle 300 hours of voice traffic every day and the data equivalent of 59,000 daily song downloads, the company says. 

The new capacity was the result of work with public officials to invest not only in older copper-wire networks but wireless networks that need to be able to handle more downloads and streaming all the time, Jacobs said. 

"It's a real partnership on all levels," she said. 

Golden called adequate cellphone coverage important, especially as more people move away from using landlines.

"People need to recognize that this doesn't just happen by accident," he said of wireless coverage.

"In this part of Massachusetts, we take it for granted."

AT&T leases space on cellphone towers such as the Tanner Street one, which also carries equipment for two other wireless providers, the company said.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Municipal Firefighter Examination

The Human Resources Division (HRD) has announced the 2016 Municipal Firefighter examination.

The written examination is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, 2016 with a last filing date of March 1, 2016.  An additional processing fee will be applied to applications filed after March 1, 2016, so we ask that candidates be encouraged to apply early.  Applications will not be accepted after March 21, 2016.  Additionally, candidates are encouraged to apply early because the physical component of the examination, known as the ELPAT, is already underway in Hudson, MA.

Interested candidates should visit website www.MASS.GOV/CivilService  for more information.

This examination is offered for all Fire Departments covered under Civil Service and may also be utilized by some non-civil service departments.  Interested candidates should spend some time reviewing the additional information including the Firefighter Examination Study Guide    and Firefighter Physical Ability Test Preparation Guide found on the www.MASS.GOV/CivilService  website . 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

$4.7M Lowell's Hamilton Canal Project

Baker Brings $4.7M more for Lowell's Hamilton Canal Project
By Grant Welker

LOWELL -- The Hamilton Canal District development seems to make advances nearly daily recently, and none may have been bigger than those on Wednesday.

The state has approved a $4.7 million grant to extend Broadway Street and utility lines into the northern half of the development, Gov. Charlie Baker announced in a press conference held in a gravel expanse in the middle of the project. Baker also signaled the state will move ahead on a new courthouse complex at the southern edge of the site, which is expected to cost $200 million.

Funds to build the courthouse had already been included in the governor's capital plan, and on Wednesday, Baker said construction of the long-anticipated courthouse could start in a year.

"We're thrilled by this partnership and excited to see it move forward," Baker said of the Hamilton Canal District.

Wednesday's announcement only adds to what has been a series of positive developments for the project. Until recently, the development had shown little progress compared to what was envisioned in a 2008 master plan as an $800 million mixed-use neighborhood.

 Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito addresses the crowd at Gov. Charlie Baker’s grant announcement for the Hamilton Canal District project on Wednesday afternoon
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito addresses the crowd
at Gov. Charlie Baker's grant announcement
for the Hamilton Canal District project on
Wednesday afternoon in Lowell. Looking on
at rear are state Rep. Tom Golden, left,
and state Sen. Eileen Donoghue

Last month, two companies, Watermark and Genesis HealthCare, placed bids to build on parcels in the district. Two other developers, WinnCompanies and Anchor Line Partners, have bid to build on the rest of the property. Construction of the $35 million to $40 million Genesis building could start within a year.

A key agreement was also reached between the city and the Lowell Regional Transit Authority.  The aurthority will allow visitors buses to park next to the Gallagher Terminal, helping to allow for parking lots along Dutton Street to be developed as mixed-use space for the Hamilton Canal District.

Craig Thomas, the city's urban-renewal project manager, credited the infrastructure funding with being critical to the northern half of the project, which doesn't have utilities or easy road access.

"Not to overstate it, but it's extraordinary," he said of the effect the investment will have.

Baker visited Lowell District Court in July 2014 while campaigning for governor, and said then that he was committed to funding the new courthouse complex if elected. He said $12 million has already been spent on planning and design, site acquisition and utilities.

The most recent cost for the courthouse is $200 million. The latest plans for the building call for 246,000 square feet on seven floors and include 16 courtrooms and 41 holding cells.

The courthouse complex would replace the cramped and rundown District Court on Hurd Street and Superior Court on Gorham Street, and also hold probate, juvenile and housing courts.

More immediately, the state MassWorks grant will bring vehicular access and utilities into the portion of the development off Dutton Street. It will also pay for some roadways on the property and a temporary surface parking lot.

Officials said the infrastructure work will help kick-start construction. In addition to the Genesis building, Watermark, an engineering company, has said it will spend about $7.5 million and the city plans to spend about $30 million on a parking garage off Dutton Street.

Follow Grant Welker on Twitter and Tout @SunGrantWelker.