“The telecom giants — AT&T, Verizon and more — are pushing to build out infrastructure on protected public lands across the country. These corporations hope to extend their reach into some of the most iconic and remote corners of the United States. And they have found a close collaborator in the federal government, which is working alongside industry operatives to open many national parks and other public lands to commercial wireless service. With a sprawling network of cell towers soon to be installed within its boundaries, Grand Teton National Park is a testing ground.
“The root of the problem is a Park Service embrace of cellular coverage without any critical analysis, outsourcing its resource protection role to the telecom industry,” said PEER’s executive director, Tim Whitehouse, in a statement last year. “In short, the (Inspector General) found that the Park Service is illegally subsidizing the telecom industry to the detriment of the parks.””