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Friday, September 23, 2016 Volume 4  | Issue 187
Charter Joins Rival Comcast in the Wireless Arena
Now Charter Communications wants to be in the wireless business too. The news comes a day after rival Comcast said it plans to invoke a 2011 deal with Verizon and launch a wireless service that would run on a combination of its own WiFi and Verizon’s network by mid-2017, Inside Towers reported yesterday.

Charter jumping into the wireless business could mean more competition for Verizon and AT&T, which dominate, reports the AP. Since its purchase of Time Warner Cable in May, Charter is now bigger, claiming 25 million+ customers. In contrast, Comcast has 28+ million.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said at an investment conference Wednesday the company told Verizon it’s interested in activating a deal with the phone company to resell its cellular network. Charter’s agreement with Verizon is similar to the Comcast-Verizon arrangement announced Tuesday.

Charter’s Rutledge did not offer details about timing, pricing or the potential handsets the new service would be compatible with, reports the WSJ. “We have talked internally about how to build out our network to capacity…and how to do that both terrestrially and wirelessly,” he said. Like the Verizon-Comcast arrangement, Charter’s vision too, involves using its WiFi hot spots to support a mobile service that would rely on Verizon’s cell network where WiFi isn’t available. Continue Reading
Behind Verizon’s Aggressive 5G Plans
Verizon has been diving into development of 5G; though still in its earliest stages, the company believes 5G will save it money in the long-run.

Experts believe 5G will deliver 10x to possibly 100x faster wireless speeds than 4G. Verizon executives said in their Q2 earnings call 5G will deliver broadband services previously only available with fiber. “With wireless fiber, the so-called last mile can be a virtual connection, dramatically changing our cost structure,” said an executive, according to Market Realist.

Verizon is testing 5G technology in Dallas with Nokia and Ericsson. Plus, the FCC recently okayed Verizon’s proposed $1.8 billion acquisition of XO Communications, which holds some high-frequency spectrum in 5G network bands. The deal will also give Verizon access to XO fiber-optic networks in some markets.

However Market Realist isn’t counting out AT&T, which is working with Ericsson and Intel to implement 5G. AT&T is taking part in the FCC’s current auction of spectrum surrendered by television broadcasters.

The carrier bid just over $18 billion, the highest bid by one carrier, in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction. That contrasts with Verizon and T-Mobile, with winning bids of $10.4 billion and $1.8 billion respectively.
South Carolina Prisons Want to Jam Cell Signals, FCC Law Says ‘No’
The South Carolina prison system wants to jam cell signals coming from its dubious occupants and has the support of Governor Nikki Haley but the FCC’s laws say otherwise. Passed in 1934, there is a law that states the FCC “can grant permission to jam public airwaves only to federal agencies, not state or local ones,” SFGate noted. While the FCC has voted in the past to change the law, nothing has been done, as of yet.

More than $20,000 has been approved by the South Carolina State Fiscal Accountability Authority to crack down on the contraband cell phones. Illegal cell phones are one of the most dangerous problems in state prisons, according to Corrections Director Bryan Stirling. In fact, as SFGate reported, prisoners have done everything to smuggle in phones—from drone drops to working with corrupt employees.

Now, the prisons’ agency got approval for the money to “fund engineering costs for a sophisticated system to be used at a handful of prisons that house some of the state’s most dangerous inmates,” called the Cell Phone Interdiction System. SFGate reported that the system will pinpoint phone use to a single cell. The agency reportedly has $1.3 million more to fund the system.

"While the FCC doesn't allow us to use this technology, we continue to look for ways to make our institutions and the public safe," Stirling told SFGate. Jamming, he said, remains "the ultimate solution.” He also told the Associated Press that smuggled phones give “inmates an unmonitored, unfettered means of continuing their crimes and even perpetrating violence.”
Canada May Be Joining the Wireless Emergency Alert System
The United States has been on a mobile emergency alert system since 2012, and our friends to the North could be next. reported that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is looking at adding a wireless public emergency alert system for Canadian residents, which will alert in times of bad weather, crime, or other threats.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which represents the largest players in Canada, told that “the public alerting system should be mandatory for all Canadian wireless carriers.” The nationwide system, if approved by the CRTC, may take a year to be in place and about $25 million.

The alerts will be “brief text messages, explaining in fewer than 90 characters what the emergency is and what action, if any, should be taken. Users receive a visual notification on their screen and a ring that is specific to emergency alerts—if their cellphone’s sound is on.”

Some pilot tests have gone out, including 20 mock alerts in the spring to test groups that included emergency responders, students, business owners and people with special needs, according to Respondents were then asked to complete a survey. Data then will be turned over to the CRTC for further review.

September 22, 2016 at Close


FCC Round 2 Activity
FCC Auction Results Ending Round 15 - Thursday 09-22-16  
Federal Register Announcement
Auction Proceeds  (as of 5 pm 9/22)

Current Round  Bidding concluded  Clearing Cost as of Stage 1   $86,422,558,704

                   Friday - Sep 23, 2016
                    Duration             Start                      End
Round 16      2 hours           10:00 AM ET      12:00 PM ET
Round 17      2 hours             3:00 PM ET      5:00 PM ET

New Jersey
North Caldwell Police On the Hunt for a New Tower Location
The North Caldwell Police Department needs a new tower for their radio system and a search is on for the right location, Detective Michael Credico told the Mayor and Council Tuesday, according to The Progress.

The detective said the internal system needs an update and a large tower to handle it but the cost of the tower cannot be determined until the type of tower and location have been chosen. The PD is considering all types of towers including the camouflaged variety.  Areas around Grandview school, or the top of Summit Drive (of course!) are considered the better locations for a tower.

Mayor Joseph Alessi told The Progress. that the current system is “extremely old and in very poor condition” with estimates of a new system at around $800,000.  Many times officers have to use their cell phones for duty-related calls, according to the mayor.

Since the system would provide coverage for Essex Fells, they are expected to chip in for two fifths of the cost of the project, according to Credico. “Cell towers are the same as radio towers, so revenue could be generated that way,” Credico told The Progress, “That might help to fund the project.”

Credico said that once both boroughs approve funding and choose a location, the current estimate of completion time for the project is seven months.
Athens County Buys 911 Tower Property by Paying Off $42K Lien
Land on which a 911 tower sits has been purchased by the Athens County Board of Commissioners. The county had been leasing the land from the property owner, who has had his differences with the county, according to the Athens Messenger. The county had been leasing the site for $600 a year but that agreement expired earlier this year.

The one-tenth acre of ground off Haga Ridge Road paid off a $42,000 state lien on the property. County Commission President Lenny Eliason said buying the property via the lien was much more expeditious and less costly than relocating the tower.

The county 911 director, estimated a cost of $250,000 to take down the tower, restore the property and then relocate to another site.  County officials have said on several occasions that their 911 tower sites should be under their possession, the Athens Messenger said.


Over 27,000 Towers About to Go on the Market
With lenders set to take control of GTL Infrastructure by conversion of debt into equity, the stage is set for GTL group founder, Manoj Tirodkar, to finally exit the telecom tower company that he built from scratch. The sale would help Tirodkar to raise funds to fix his group flagship, GTL Ltd’s debt problems that sank the entire group over the past six years according to the Business Standard.

Viom, a potential buyer, owns around 42,200 towers across India, while GTL Infrastructure owns over 27,000. The towers are reported to be on the market at 8-to-10 time multipliers.
Megafon Forms New Company with 15,000 Towers
Russian mobile operator Megafon will transfer its infrastructure, including over 15,000 towers, to the subsidiary called The 1st Tower Company. Alexander Teremetskiy will be the CEO, combining his new duties with the position of director for relations with telecom operators under Megafon according to

NATE Awarded $126,000 for Training
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) will receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to offer industry training in 2017. NATE is to receive a $126,000 Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Follow-On Training Grant.

The program awards funding to non-profits on a competitive basis; the awards are issued annually based on congressional appropriation.

It’s the second year in a row NATE has won the grant. Executive Director Todd Schlekeway calls that a testament to the quality of the association’s safety training programs.

NATE facilitated training of more than 310 industry employees and employers in fiscal year 2016, thanks to the grant, he said. It hopes to add the training to 12 new markets in 2017.

Specifically, NATE will provide 53-hour training for workers and employers and a 38-hour train-the-trainer training for the construction industry.

OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels characterizes the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program as “one of the most effective ways we have for communicating with vulnerable and hard-to-reach workers in high-hazard industries who may not know how to avoid and prevent safety and health hazards in their workplaces.” The program is named after a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment for OSHA who died in 1996.

Competitive Carriers Association 2016 Annual Achievement Award Winners
Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) today announced the winners of its Annual Achievement Awards at their 2016 Annual Convention.  The winners were honored for their contributions to the industry and community in five categories: Distinguished Leadership, Outstanding Achievement, Outstanding Service, Industry Innovation and the Neko Hamlett Associate Member of the Year.

"Competitive carriers must innovate in order to survive, and at the same time serve as visible, active members of the communities they serve," said Steven K. Berry, president and CEO of CCA. "These awards honor the individuals, carriers and associate companies who have made extraordinary contributions to the mobile industry and to their communities." Continue Reading

Responsible (and Accelerated) Deployment of Small Cells
By Tom Leddo, V.P., Md7 and Sean Maddox, Land Use Project Manager
The much anticipated rollout of small cells appears to have finally arrived. The wireless infrastructure industry has been forecasting the small cell boom for the last couple of years and while the current wave is not as big as initially anticipated, the work is rolling out, and along with it a lot of new challenges. It’s clear that business as usual (which arguably no longer works even in the macro-site context) has no place in small cell deployments.Some of the hurdles include:
  • developing new deployment models, including internal tracking and project milestones tailored to small cell polygons and clusters, rather than macro-site systems,
  • negotiating bulk attachment agreements with a variety of municipalities, utilities and pole/infrastructure owners,
  • rapid, large scale deployments at a low cost per node; and of course
  • working with local municipalities to develop guidelines for deployments specific to small cell technology.

In our opinion, the last issue is the most significant challenge we face at this time. On the one hand, operators have an immediate need for large-scale, efficient deployments in the rights‑of‑way. On the other hand, municipalities need to maintain the architectural and historical integrity of their communities while faced with an extraordinarily large volume of applications crossing their desks and (often) antiquated code, guidelines, and processes designed for hundred-foot towers. Given the stakes, the wireless infrastructure industry must take the lead to bridge these issues.

The following table outlines these two points of views from a high level. Continue Reading

Latest posting from the FCC 9/22/16
Ericsson Field Service Operations – Telecom Tower Technician I

Ericsson is currently looking for experienced Telecom Tower Technicians to join their organization in multiple cities across the United States. More information about the job is available here.

B+T – Tower Technician

B+T is looking to hire a Tower Technician responsible for completing on-site field work activities associated with each field service project. Click here for more information. 

AM Tower Farm in Syracuse, NY contributed by Robert Pritchard

Managing Editor:  Jim Fryer
Writers:  Braden Hall, Ben Horvath, Alyssa Stahr & Leslie Stimson    
Marketing: Megan Reed  Creative & Tower-Pro:  Cara Aston  
Advertising & Classifieds:  Phil Cook  |  Mike Dryden  |  Sharon Barone

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