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When the City of Lone Tree begins erecting new small cell wireless facilities in public rights of way around town over the next couple years, the only difference residents should notice is improved cell and internet service.
That's according to Steve Hebert, deputy city manager for Lone Tree, who said the passing of House Bill 1193 by the state Legislature in 2017 makes it mandatory for all cities and towns to allow wireless providers to mount the small cell wireless facilities along public rights of way. Historically providers have approached private property owners and offered a fee to erect towers on their land.
“The biggest change people will see is when they start showing up in residential areas,” said Hebert. “Having more of these facilities will give everyone better cell coverage and faster internet. They're becoming a part of the infrastructure of every city as the demand for mobile data continues to increase.”
Small cell facilities are used to supplement larger cellular networks, and will be placed in areas where coverage is lacking. While the city must allow providers to erect facilities, providers must make the facilities aesthetically compatible with the surroundings. New facilities can look like a streetlamp, or be mounted on existing traffic poles or flagpoles. Hebert said the city is working with several providers to determine what the new facilities will look like around Lone Tree.
“The City of Lone Tree has worked with many other municipalities in the Denver area, along with the wireless providers, to establish design guidelines that will minimize the visual impact of these new facilities. Depending on the location, the new wireless facility may look like a flagpole or a streetlight. In some locations, these facilities may be attached to an existing street light or an existing traffic signal,” states a fact sheet issued by the city.
Jake Rishavy, vice president of innovations with the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, said the move to small cell wireless facilities in Lone Tree will benefit residents and business owners.
“This will provide a massive benefit for homes, but also for businesses,” said Rishavy. “Communities that have these are at an advantage economically. Everyone will notice better, faster connections and fewer dropped calls. Lone Tree is really forward thinking on Smart City technology.”
Providers are responsible for the cost of erecting and maintaining the facilities, and the city incurs no cost from having them placed along rights of way.
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