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Inside Towers
Friday, March 10, 2017 Volume 5  | Issue 49
CCA Urges FCC to Streamline Deployment With Reduced Siting Fees

The Competitive Carriers Association is pressing the FCC to take several steps to clear the way for next-generation broadband deployment. Those include reducing siting delays; tying siting fees to actual review and maintenance costs and educating state and local governments about the benefits of next-gen wireless service.

“Competitive carriers play a critical role in ensuring consumers, especially those in rural areas, have access to high-speed mobile broadband services, and depend on sound infrastructure policy to achieve this important goal,” said CCA President/CEO Steven Berry in comments filed with the FCC on a Mobilitie petition to streamline small cell deployment. “Unfortunately, CCA members’ experiences with some federal, state and local authorities have, more often than not, been laden with unreasonable delays, poor communication, inflated fees, or disregard for ‘shot clocks’ and review timelines. Delays and unreasonable costs waste resources that could otherwise go directly to deploying mobile broadband services.”

FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Rielly this week identified the actions they’re ready to take during a Senate hearing. Berry said “getting this right will have a big impact on bringing new and better connectivity—not to mention jobs and economic opportunities—to the areas that need it most.”

One Tower Okayed on Zoning Commissioner’s Property, Second Draws Fire
A cell tower proposed on the property of a township zoning commissioner in North Huntingdon was allowed to move forward earlier this week, after the commissioners voted in favor of allowing the project, reports Trib Live. The fate of a second cell tower in the city remains less clear.

The 195-foot cell tower for Verizon aims to improve spotty cell coverage in the area and would be located on the property of zoning commissioner Thomas Kerber. On Monday, the commission unanimously approved the site plan for the tower, with Kerber abstaining from the vote.

Another cell tower located in nearby Hempfield—a 199-foot tower also for Verizon—has been proposed on land owned by township Supervisor John Silvis. Unlike the tower located on Kerber’s property—which was approved with no opposition—the fate of this tower remains unclear due to public pushback. Continue Reading
Tower Lease Dispute Leaves Jackson Hole Stations in ‘Limbo’
Vital statistics: American claims $500K in back rent owed, tenant says $140K
Rich Broadcasting’s stations in Jackson Hole, WY remain on the air, but the owner says their status is “in limbo.” That’s because Richard Mecham and American Tower are fighting about how much Mecham owes in tower fees.

Rich Broadcasting has a three-tower array licensed to Iona, ID, on top of Snow King Mountain, according to the FCC’s ASR database. The company owns four stations in the market: three FMs (KMTN, KZJH and KJAX) and KID(AM). The towers were built in 1987; Rich Broadcasting bought the stations in 2011 from Chaparral Broadcasting.

American wants nearly $500,000 in back fees, while Mecham believes the figure for three years’ worth of back rent should be closer to $140,000, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide. The radio owner filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last year and a Utah judge gave both sides until March 8 to reach an agreement; now Mecham seeks an extension. Continue Reading
Verizon Eyes 2018 for Deployment of 5G With U.S. Full-Phased in 2020
Talk of 5G technology has dominated headlines of the wireless industry the past couple years, but when will this oft-discussed technology become real-world technology? Verizon recently announced a timeline for the deployment of its 5G technology, which will be developed over the course of the remainder of the decade, reports Zacks.

The company is aiming for 2018 as the initial deployment of the mobile hotspot and home-based fixed wireless technology of 5G wireless networks. A full-phased 5G wireless network, however, will not reach the U.S. market until 2020.

Verizon is currently offering customer trials of fixed 5G wireless network across 11 U.S. cities, Inside Towers reported. John Stratton, Verizon’s EVP and president of operations, recently announced the company’s timeline for 5G deployment at the Deutsche Bank 25th Annual Media & Telecom conference.

The company has been testing its 5G network at the 15 GHz, 28 GHz, 39 GHz and 64 GHz frequency bands. It’s aiming to aggressively build out its fiber and wireless infrastructure in the near future to prepare for the upcoming rollout of its 5G network.
AT&T’s 90-Minute Outage of 911 Services Prompts FCC Investigation
The FCC is looking into Wednesday night’s 911 outage impacting AT&T wireless subscribers across the country. Chairman Ajit Pai announced he discussed the incident with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and stressed the need to communicate the outage with first responders, customers and quickly restore 911 services.

Pai also directed agency staff to “track down the root cause” of the outage, which lasted about 90 minutes, according to various news reports. “Aware of issue affecting some calls to 911 for wireless customers. Working to resolve ASAP. We apologize to those affected,” the company said on its Twitter account. AT&T did not immediately release any information on what may have caused the outage or how it was restored.

During the outage, many law enforcement agencies in affected states provided alternate numbers for people to call if they had an emergency. For example, subscribers to a Montgomery County, MD alerting service received texts that read: “AT&T reporting sporadic 911 service disruptions nationwide this evening. If you attempt to call 911 but cannot get through, call 911 via another cell carrier, use a landline to call 911, or dial” a specific number that was provided. Several states were affected, including Texas, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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March 9, 2017 at Close

American Tower Declares $0.62 Dividend
American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT) announced that its board of directors has declared its quarterly cash distribution of $0.62 per share on shares of the Company’s common stock. The distribution is payable on April 28, 2017 to such stockholders of record at the close of business on April 12, 2017.

Proximity to Runway Complicates Buildout on Fairground Property
The Fayette County Free Fair Association is hoping to lease out its property to tower development company Capital Telecom for the construction of a cell site, in order to generate additional revenue for the association, reports the Connersville News Examiner.

However, in order to make that happen there are several hoops that must be jumped through due to the proposed tower location’s proximity to a nearby airport. The issue will be discussed at the upcoming Area Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings, both scheduled for March 13. 

Capital Telecom already agreed to lower the height of the tower to 175 feet, in order to fall within the FAA’s requirements for the approach to a runway. The company also already received a determination of no hazard from the FAA for the structure.

Airport consultant Corey Harper, who works for a local civil engineering firm, sent a letter in January to Capital Telecom’s attorney and the Area Plan Director requiring the tower to be lit and painted. “When you’re in a fog bank and you’re trying to see a tower” or if you can’t see a tower in a ground fog situation, “these towers are marked and lighted for pilots in the air, not for people on the ground,” Harper said.

Black & Veatch Executive Martin Travers Joins NWSA Board of Directors
The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) announced yesterday that Martin Travers, Group President of Black & Veatch, has joined the organization’s Board of Directors. Travers was nominated and appointed during the NWSA Board of Directors meeting held in Fort Worth, Texas on March 2.

NWSA is a national non-profit assessment and certification organization established to provide thorough, independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard communication structures. Continue Reading
New York
More Towers on Shelter Island Means More Lives Saved

Communication between dispatchers and firefighters on Shelter Island is dire, but the situation is improving, was the message Shelter Island Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski shared with his colleagues at a recent meeting. Additional towers are needed, but transmission quality has already increased after an upgrade was made to an existing tower. The Shelter Island Reporter explained many firefighters working on Shelter Island could not receive radio messages until new fiber-optic cables were installed at a tower in Greenport in February. More towers are necessary to provide emergency communication coverage for the entire island. Without effective radio communications, Lechmanski believes residents’ lives could be in danger if a crisis occurs.

Lechmanski explained the situation at a Fire Commission meeting at the Center Firehouse, the site of a proposed 120-foot tower that will be dedicated solely to sending and receiving communiques to firefighters across the island. The current tower is only 65 feet tall, and is outdated. The proposed tower will resemble a flag pole due to its placement in the center of town. Also proposed is a tower off of Cobbetts Lane, about two miles from the firehouse. The second tower will carry cellular antennas in addition to the equipment the fire department will use, but the two towers are not capable of providing communication coverage for the entire island, Lechmanski explained. He hopes the towers will be pushed through by the Shelter Island Town Board because of the perilous nature of the problem.

NaturChem Keeps Tower Sites in Trim and Working Order
By Braden Hall
Vegetation management is an issue affecting every telecommunications company, but there are few solutions offered. According to NaturChem’s Normen Pentolino, “That makes our company unique.” NaturChem has been operating since 1987, and has specifically focused on developing relationships with tower companies. Pentolino is the General Manager of the Towers Department, and has worked with the business for seven years. The towers department was created to specialize in service to communication sites and clients like Crown Castle and American Tower.

Pentolino described NaturChem’s beginnings as simple. “It started with one guy with a spray rig in the back of station wagon.” Now, technicians operate with highly sophisticated equipment across the nation, concentrated heavily in the Southeast. The company offers many services, including: tree removal, mowing, encroaching brush and limb control, herbicide prescriptions, and access road maintenance and repair. Vegetation encroachment gives snakes cover to get close to the towers, and puts inspectors and climbers in danger. Continue Reading

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L-com Debuts New Series of Outdoor Omni-Directional Antennas
L-com Global Connectivity, a preferred manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products, released a new series of dual-band, dual-polarized 2x2 MIMO antennas for use in MIMO/802.11ac devices.

L-com’s DPU2-series antennas are dual-band, outdoor, Omni-directional antennas with dual-polarization that permits them to operate in both vertical and horizontal polarizations. One of these antennas can do the same work as two antennas by simultaneously transmitting data on one polarization while receiving data on the other polarization. These antennas also increase WiFi data speed by allowing the attenuation of unwanted signals from adjacent channels and/or co-located equipment, which improves RF performance and increases data speed. Continue Reading
State Court Rules Against Injured Tower Tech Who Disobeyed Instructions

Should a tower tech receive workers’ compensation after he disobeyed the supervisor’s instructions, and was injured as a result?  A unanimous ruling issued by the Georgia Supreme Court on March 6 overruled the decision made by a lower appellate court, and confirmed an employee disregarding an employer’s directions and acting dangerously may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The issue at stake was whether or not a Chandler Telecom L.L.C employee would receive workers’ compensation after he disobeyed the supervisor’s instructions, and was injured as a result. The court decided the employee acted with the knowledge he was violating orders, and could be injured as a result.  

According to Business Insurance, a cell phone tower technician suffered injuries to his ankle, leg, and hip after a fall in November 2012. The crew members were instructed to climb down the tower at the end of their shifts, instead of using a controlled descent. The report states, the employee “attempted a controlled descent despite the repeated protests of the crew’s lead tower hand who was with him.”  Continue Reading

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May 8-11, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, TX

AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 will take place in Dallas May 8-11 and bring together more than 650+ manufacturers, the leading innovators in the industry, and more than 7,000 attendees for networking, education sessions and a packed exhibit floor.
Attendees will see all of the latest emerging technology, connect directly with suppliers and establish critical partnerships. XPONENTIAL’s education program - featuring more than 200 sessions - features academics, technology leaders, and users across a range of industries, who will discuss the real-world application of drone, robotics and unmanned technologies.

This is the perfect place to see what’s on the horizon in the drone world as it relates to the tower industry. Inside Towers is a proud media partner to the event. Find out more and register here.

Latest posting from the FCC 3/9/17, Inside Towers’ companion Buyer’s Guide has over 3,500 listings in 130+ categories. Each month we will be featuring one of our primary categories. This month, we’re highlighting Construction. Within this category are subcategories:

Should your company be in this category?
See if you’re listed and if you only have a basic listing, find out why you should upgrade here.

This week's featured listing in this category (amongst others) is S&K Electrical Contracting, LLC. Check them out and ask us how you can upgrade your listing

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