DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — An off-the-grid area of northern Minnesota will soon host a new tower to bring cell service to the region, though some locals and visitors want the area to remain remote.
The Cook County Board voted on Tuesday to allow AT&T to build the tower to bring cellphone service to a remote area that includes the Gunflint Trail and portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Star Tribune reported.
The new tower — which is expected to be less than 200 feet tall — will be built close to an existing radio tower near Gunflint Lake and won’t be lit at night to prevent light pollution in the area.
The structure will allow first responders access to the cellphone provider’s FirstNet service, an authority that aims to bolster public safety communications. The tower will have room for three cellphone providers should other companies follow AT&T to the region.
County officials cited public safety concerns for the decision. But some residents and visitors to the remote wilderness area argue the lack of cell service allows them to disconnect while on vacation. County officials at the Tuesday meeting said that the decision will make it safer for campers and hikers to explore the region.
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