NPS - National Park Service

03/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/12/2019 14:30

Park Proposes to Update Inadequate and Outdated Telecommunication Services to Meet Critical Needs

Date:
March 12, 2019
Contact: Denise Germann, 307.739.3393

MOOSE, WY -Grand Teton National Park encourages public comment on an environmental assessment regarding improved telecommunications infrastructure in developed areas of the park. The purpose of the assessment is to consider a right-of-way permit request for updating and expanding telecommunication capabilities in developed areas of Grand Teton National Park, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and connecting to Yellowstone National Park's south entrance.

The environmental assessment analyzes the impacts of potential locations, design, and future needs of telecommunication facilities. Fiber optic and wireless telecommunication services addressed in the environmental assessment include internet, voice over internet protocol, and cellular phones. The proposal would improve cellular and broadband services to meet mission-critical park operations, safety and emergency services, and visitor information needs and expectations in developed areas.

Park management, concessioners, and partners are increasingly relying on modern communications technology for daily operations; however, existing telecommunications services are limited or nonexistent, inadequate and outdated.

The park's lack of suitable telecommunications infrastructure in developed areas affects visitors and park residents as well. Visitor expectations for connectivity include park-developed educational websites, interactive mobile applications and other online tools that inform and connect them to park and local resources. Employees and families living in the park do not have reliable telecommunication services that are expected and necessary for work and personal email, school responsibilities, banking and other routine needs.

A fiber optic cable network would be installed to connect telecommunications infrastructure and provide reliable high-speed internet access in developed areas. The cable would be installed underground in conduit adjacent to existing roads or other existing disturbed areas and would have the capacity for future expansion.

The proposal also includes installation of wireless telecommunications facilities and associated infrastructure at nine developed areas in the park that currently support critical operations and/or see a high volume of park visitors, as well as a connection to the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The proposed locations are Flagg Ranch, Colter Bay, Jackson Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain, North Jenny Lake, South Jenny Lake, Beaver Creek, Moose, and Kelly. The facilities would 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.
The intent of this plan is to provide these services 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.

The park is hosting two public open houses for individuals to learn more about the proposal and provide comment. Park staff will be at the Kelly School in Kelly, Wyoming on Tuesday, March 19, from 5-6:30 p.m. and at the Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming on Wednesday, March 20, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The public is invited to stop by anytime during those hours.

The document is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/telecommunicationsand public comments are encouraged to be submitted via this website. Comments on the proposal should be provided to the park by April 10. For more information about the proposal, please contact the park at 307-739-3393.