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Inside Towers
January 30 - February 3, 2017
Cell Towers Integral in Florida County’s ‘Great Tornado Drill’ 
January 30, 2017
Smartphones aren’t only useful for sharing selfies or texting your bestie. They are also a tool that can prove vital in emergency situations, as Escambia County, Florida is making known during the state’s 16th annual Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Earlier this week, Escambia County Public Safety conducted the “Great Tornado Drill” to prepare citizens for severe weather, reports WEAR-TV. The plan encouraged participants to develop a plan for emergency situations and also emphasized the importance of mobile devices during severe weather.

The National Weather Service issues notifications during severe weather situations. Notifications are sent to nearby cell phones and come standard on all new smartphone models.

"If there is a tornado warning here in our community, they can communicate to the towers that service our cell phones. They will send a tornado warning to that tower and each cell phone in that area, that touches the tower, will receive the alert automatically," John Dosh, Escambia Emergency Manager, told WEAR-TV. "It sends out a wild alarm, you look at it and it sends you a text message, saying tornado warning. It gives you the 'wheres', the 'whats' and for how long."

New Jersey
Northern New Jersey Receiving Influx of Verizon Small Cell Node Applications 
January 30, 2017
Residents of northern New Jersey may soon be experiencing better wireless coverage in several municipalities across the Garden State. Verizon has made requests in different municipalities to install small cell network nodes on utility poles, reports

While some applications remain on hold due to high volume, those that have already been approved by municipalities do not limit the number of nodes that can be placed in the municipality, but require the operator to abide by certain safety rules.

“The single biggest concern is that if you sign an agreement to install nodes in a right-of-way, you must allow any subsequent company access under the same terms,” says Michael J. Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. “We’re encouraging municipalities to look at neutral ordinances regulating the number of devices in a given area so we don’t have a ‘wild west’ of 50 nodes on every street.” Continue Reading
Carriers Prep for a Ten Terabyte-or-More Super Bowl 
January 31, 2017
In 2014, the NFL’s Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle declared NRG Stadium in Houston a “black hole” for wireless coverage. Thankfully for Super Bowl attendees next weekend, the stadium has since shed that moniker due to several improvements made by wireless providers and the addition of WiFi in the 72,220-seat stadium, reports the Houston Chronicle.

“It’s a significant, significant difference in the last two years,” Texans VP Information Technology Jeff Schmitz told the Chronicle. “If you were with certain providers, it was not even worth bringing your phone in the stadium. Now, every phone has the ability to connect.”

These upgrades will be put to the test this Sunday as fans pile into the venue to take in one of the world’s most popular sporting events, but carriers think they are ready for the heavy data traffic. “I feel confident we will be able to handle what comes at us,” said Frank Jackowski, an AT&T area manager in the South Texas market. Continue Reading
State Scrambles to Fund Bicentennial Projects After Wireless Deal Put on Hold 
January 31, 2017
UPDATE Former Indiana governor Mike Pence left the Hoosier state when he was sworn in alongside President Donald Trump as the nation’s Vice President earlier this month. But the former governor’s plan to fund several state construction projects marking Indiana’s 200th anniversary has had a few hiccups due to the delay of a wireless agreement that would lease out space on 340 state-owned cell towers, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Pence planned to fund $53.5 million of new projects using the revenue generated from leasing the state’s cell towers. The plan appeared to be moving smoothly as the state announced a deal with Agile Networks in December, but pushback to the agreement delayed its approval; it still has yet to come before committee.

The state already spent more than $5 million on these projects, but without the Agile Networks deal in place, current Governor Eric Holcomb and state officials are looking for alternative funding. Continue Reading
FCC to Drop Barriers and Organize a Broadband Deployment Advisory Board
February 1, 2017
Speeding up broadband deployment in order to close the digital divide is a core goal of new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Inside Towers reported. Presiding over his first open meeting of the FCC in his new role, Pai announced the formation of a federal broadband deployment advisory committee to do that.

The group will identify barriers to infrastructure deployment and make recommendations to remove them, he said. The group will work to revise pole attachment rules, identify ways to encourage municipalities to adopt “deployment-friendly” policies and other reforms.  The board plans to hold its first meeting this spring and seeks nominations of individuals or organizations that would like to join. To submit a nominee use this link.

One of the things the committee will tackle first is drafting what Pai calls a “model code” covering zoning, permitting and rights-of-way. The idea is any city can use the model as a template to ease broadband deployment, and providers would have a “better case” for installing infrastructure. Continue Reading
New Jersey
Secaucus City Council Grants Verizon Public Access    
February 1, 2017
Last week, the Secaucus City Council approved the regulating and permitting for Verizon-New Jersey to use the town's public streets to install communications facilities over the next few years, according to the Hudson Reporter.

Mark Bocchieri, director of external affairs for Verizon-New Jersey, said residents can expect basic services, such as high-speed internet and phone service but Fios services have not been available.  The new ordinance will make Fios fully accessible within the coming years, as work is done to install more Verizon infrastructure throughout the town the Hudson Reporter said.
AT&T Launches AirGig and Buys FiberTower to Support It                             VIDEO 
February 2, 2017
AT&T is launching its small cell deployment plan in San Francisco, a plan that will provide the blueprint for the carrier’s future deployment in other U.S. cities (see video). The carrier will use C-RAN architecture throughout the city and use existing light posts and other urban infrastructure, reports Telegeography.

“Storing the brains of hundreds of towers and small cells in one place lets engineers add capacity and improve efficiency for hundreds of cell sites quickly and simultaneously,” the company said in a press release.

As part of this plan, AT&T also announced it reached an agreement to acquire San Francisco-based FiberTower Corporation, as well as the company’s mmWave spectrum rights. FiberTower owns valuable spectrum in the 24GHz and 39GHz range, which will help AT&T execute its 5G deployment plan across the city.

This news comes just after AT&T’s announcement to put its Project AirGig to the test. That project uses broadband-over-power lines (BPL) technology. The company touted this technology as another key piece of the development of its 5G network. 
FCC Broadband Advisory Panel Attracts Congressional Interest
February 2, 2017
UPDATE  U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.VA.) want to work with the FCC broadband advisory panel announced by Chairman Ajit Pai. Calling Pai a “passionate advocate for rural broadband,” Klobuchar tells Politico she looks forward to working with the new Chairman, her colleagues and the committee “to improve the deployment of broadband infrastructure so that more Americans have access to high-speed internet no matter where they live.”

More than 70 members of the U.S. House sent a letter to President Donald Trump this week urging him to include investments in rural broadband connectivity in his forthcoming infrastructure proposal. “Rural communities cannot attract and retain businesses and human resources if they are insufficiently connected,” they write. Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Bob Latta (R-OH) organized the letter, they announced. Continue Reading 
Great Britain
British Infrastructure Leader May Be On the Block Stirring Worldwide Interest 
February 3, 2017
Arqiva, a company that runs much of Britain's TV and mobile infrastructure but is little known outside the industry, could put itself up for sale or list on the stock market as part of a review led by Rothschild, according to Reuters.

Arqiva was a pioneer in the UK with the BBC's first televised broadcast in 1936.  Since then it has worked with major mobile carriers, radio stations and leading British broadcasters. Shareholders include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Macquarie Reuters said.

Media reports have suggested the firm could be worth between five and six billion pounds ($7.57 billion). With revenues in the year to end June 2016 of 850 million pounds, Arqiva could draw interest from other large pension funds, sovereign investors and private equity groups attracted to its predictable cash flow, as well as telecom towers operators in Europe and the United States, according to Reuters. Continue Reading
Small Cells Yield Big Results In Lincoln                                                              PODCAST
Vital Statistics: $1,995 per pole, 20 year agreement, 2.3% Annual Escalator
February 3, 2017
Lincoln, Nebraska’s Right-of-Way Manager David Young spoke with Community Broadband Bits Wednesday about the city’s new venture into small cell technology.

According to Community Networks podcast host Christopher Mitchell, the state-imposed restrictions on municipalities in Nebraska have not prevented Lincoln from finding a way to make a smart investment in conduit and public fiber. City Spokesman Young said an extensive conduit network and smart local policies in Lincoln have improved competition, expanded access, and now the small cell program is improving mobile broadband.

Young describes some of the challenges, processes, and the special considerations communities must address for small cell deployment. Better cell coverage was the first goal of the project, he said but also describes how improved coverage helps the Lincoln compete with other cities in several ways. Continue Reading
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