Small-cell begins installation in Lone Tree

Five of nine small-cell towers have been erected, more to come

Posted 8/5/19

Installation of the first wave of small-cell wireless poles has begun around Lone Tree, bringing with it the promise of 5G wireless capability. Five of nine small-cell wireless poles for the cell …

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Small-cell begins installation in Lone Tree

Five of nine small-cell towers have been erected, more to come

Posted

Installation of the first wave of small-cell wireless poles has begun around Lone Tree, bringing with it the promise of 5G wireless capability.

Five of nine small-cell wireless poles for the cell phone carrier Sprint have been erected already by Zayo Group, a Boulder-based company that installs cellular infrastructure for carriers. Zayo will be installing the small-cell poles for all four of the major cell phone carriers — Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile — in Lone Tree.

The installation of the poles is preemptive for when companies begin offering 5G service for the first time. The five poles currently installed are providing 4G LTE service. The antennas on the poles can be modified to accommodate 5G once it becomes available.

Dates have not been determined yet for when poles for the other three carriers will be installed, according to Justin Schmitz, Lone Tree's public works director.

“As a city, we are trying to find ways to minimize the pole impact,” Schmitz said. “We want to make sure they look as aesthetic as possible, they meet our ordinance and we're requiring them to co-locate on the same pole if possible.”

Possibly hundreds of small-cell poles will be installed in Lone Tree, following a trend for the preparation of 5G across the nation. Ericsson, a Swedish networking and telecommunications company, anticipates a surge in the use of 5G over the next five years.

“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 poles in Lone Tree can be as short as 30 feet. Since they are short-range cellular poles, several will need to be set up across 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.

The introduction of 5G has left some people around the country concerned. Some believe the technology to have harmful effects on a person's health, though the Food and Drug Administration has stated the amount of radio frequency emitted from any 5G wireless pole accessible to the public is far below the radio frequency human intake limits established by the FDA.

Still, some residents down the road in Highlands Ranch tried to prevent the installation of 5G poles in their area in May. Zayo had submitted an application for 30 small-cell poles in Highlands Ranch, but the application has since been put on hold, according to Douglas County officials, due to resident complaints.

In Lone Tree, few people have raised a concern over this, Schmitz said. Schmitz said the city makes sure the poles are compliant with FCC and FDA stipulations.

“Over time, as this gets deployed, they will see the ability of this improved cell service these small-cell services will be able to provide,” Schmitz said. “There's a lot of use and demand for data and services within the entire metro region and within the city of Lone Tree.”

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