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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Small cell wireless facilities being installed

Small cell wireless facilities being installed

The City of Westminster is getting more and more interest from wireless carriers seeking to place small cell wireless facilities/towers in the city’s public rights-of-way. Citizens, business owners and other interested parties will likely have questions as providers start to install the new facilities. Here are some frequently asked questions:

What is a small cell wireless cellular facility?

Currently, most major cellular providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.) have relatively robust wireless cellular facility networks established within the city. These networks are generally comprised of traditional “macro” networks, which consist of antennas (and supporting equipment) that are typically mounted on either exposed girder towers or on building rooftops or façades. Small cell facilities provide supplemental support for the macro networks. They usually consist of polemounted wireless antenna arrays that are placed in the public right-of-way. Their job is to improve service in existing coverage areas.

What will (do) the new small cell facilities look like?

While there will be variations, the city is generally asking for new poles to have the same overall height (about 25 to 35 feet tall), color and finish of poles (usually streetlight poles) that are already installed nearby. The new poles will typically either replace existing streetlights where feasible, or will stand inline with existing streetlights in situations where additional lighting is not needed. As much as possible, the style of the poles will be consistent.

How many small cell poles are coming?

It is estimated that the city should expect to see 1,000 to 1,500 poles, once they are all in place, to achieve the desired coverage of all of the carriers. The poles will be supported by eight to 10 miles of underground fiber-optic cable.

Where can new poles be placed?

Generally speaking, poles will be situated out of travel lanes, and in-line with existing light poles. Driveways, sidewalks and crosswalks should not be unduly impacted. There are other placement rules that carriers must observe, as well.

Are wireless poles safe?

According to the Federal Communications Commission, a properly installed small cell pole should not represent any danger to public health.

Can the city “Just Say No” to the carriers?

No – the city is compelled to allow small cell poles by State and Federal laws that give access to the city’s public rights-of-way to wireless facility providers. The city can do its best to minimize potentially adverse impacts, but cannot prevent the use of the public right-of-way for this purpose.


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