Small-cell wireless poles to be installed as 5G looms

Lone Tree could see hundreds of installations as technology changes

Posted 7/2/18

Lone Tree will see several new small-cell wireless poles installed around the city in response to growing cell phone traffic in the area and the soon-to-be-offered 5G coverage, local officials say. …

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Small-cell wireless poles to be installed as 5G looms

Lone Tree could see hundreds of installations as technology changes

Posted

Lone Tree will see several new small-cell wireless poles installed around the city in response to growing cell phone traffic in the area and the soon-to-be-offered 5G coverage, local officials say.

Small-cell wireless poles are short-range communication poles that allow for speedier connectivity from devices such as cell phones, tablets and any other device using wireless data. Several similar poles have been set up in the commercial areas of Lone Tree for 4G and 3G use, often disguised in trees, flagpoles, traffic lights or sometimes church steeples, and these new ones will likely call for a similar camouflage.

This installation process comes as cellular data usage globally has surged since its initial commercial use in 2009. The installation of these poles is a preemptive action for when cell phone companies are able to offer 5G connectivity to their users. Several companies, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, will be installing poles around the city.

Tens to possibly hundreds of these poles will be installed in Lone Tree, following a trend for the preparation of 5G across the nation. According to a mobility report from Ericsson, a Swedish networking and telecommunications company, 5G commercial use for smart phones could come as soon as early 2019.

“By the end of 2023, there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions, accounting for around 20 percent of mobile data traffic,” reads the introduction letter of the report from Ericsson executive vice president Fredrik Jejdling.

The biggest difference from the old to new poles is the quantity and the size of the pole themselves. These poles can come as short as 30 feet. Since they are short-range cellular poles, several will need to be set up across the city. As of 2016, wireless companies wanted to install poles about 100 feet tall, which is the normal design for the current poles in the city.

Though the city is required by state law to allow cell phone companies to build these poles, the city can decide on the maximum height, color and spacing of the poles. Lone Tree's parameters call for the poles to be at least 600 feet apart and no more than 40 feet tall.

“Fortunately, in the last 18 months, the (wireless) industry has come a long way in working with local jurisdictions and most companies are coming in at 30 feet,” said Steve Herbert, deputy city manager for Lone Tree. “The technology has come to a point — significantly — where the poles are smaller. They're more compact.”

The Colorado Legislature passed a law in 2017 requiring municipalities to accommodate the installation of these small-cell wireless poles.

The FCC and Congress have deemed these towers to have no issue concerning health. The City of Lone Tree has complied with federal regulations that keep it from considering possible health factors of the new poles.

“These are not the city's facilities, they city is not asking for these to be installed in the City of Lone Tree,” Herbert said. “We have to accommodate. That doesn't mean we don't think enhanced wireless isn't good for the community. We think it's good. You want to make sure you have good cellular service for everybody.”

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