Between 2008 and 2013, the telecommunications industry grew by about 3.4% each year. With an increasing number of Americans relying on cellphones, more cellphone towers have been needed. However, many people have been pushing back when it comes to the appearance of cell phone towers, which do not always blend well with existing landscape. Many phone companies are responding to this critique by disguising their cellphone towers… as trees.
In Grandville, Michigan, a “monopine,” as it is called in the industry, has already gone up, and local residents have had mixed reactions to the installation. “We just saw it today the first time: we were driving down the road and I said, ‘that tree looks kind of funny, it kind of offends me,’” said Theresann Pyrett, a local resident. Many of the residents think the tree looks real enough, but say its height doesn’t blend well with real trees in Michigan.
Other residents, like Clark Vredevoogd, don’t have any problem with the tower. “I think it’s pretty cool actually the way that they disguised it from being a cell phone tower,” he said in an interview with Fox17. “I heard it was Verizon’s cell phone tower, so better coverage for me I guess.” In the Grandville area alone, there are at least 10 FCC cell phone towers located in or near the city.
Similar trees have gone up in communities around the country, and more are being built. In Roosevelt, California, Irving Co. developers are working with Verizon so as to blend the tower’s construction seamlessly with existing neighborhood design. There, the company is making a faux eucalyptus tree instead. According to Eric Meurs, who works with a Verizon contractor company, faux tree poles usually cost about $200 a foot, which is about double the price of a standard pole.