Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 3 9 ese questions become especially pronounced as 5G wireless technology comes closer to market. 5G is estimated to be available in many markets by 2020, so PWS providers and associated infrastructure providers (collectively, "providers") are gearing up now. Cities must prepare now for the coming deployments. Doing nothing is not an option. e effective deployment of next-generation wireless networks in any community will depend on the technical and aesthetic guidelines that cities establish and the regulations that emerge from state and federal bodies. Developing guidelines that conform with regulations will, in turn, require technical expertise, legal understanding, sound engineering and regulatory guidance. It's a lot for communities to tackle, and it can be tempting simply to rely on a provider's recommendation in the hope that the end result will meet community needs. However, this approach can result in a solution that favors one provider over another and may not meet the needs of the city or its citizens. To ensure citizens enjoy all that the new broadband technologies have to offer, each city should proactively develop an approach inherently aligned with its goals. e building blocks of one such approach are described below. UNDERSTAND THE RISKS e ubiquitous availability of wireless broadband enhances commerce, education and quality of life. But as more and more people depend on wireless devices, the demands placed on wireless networks increase rapidly. ese demands are not only for basic communications but also for access to increasingly demanding internet content, such as ever-higher- definition video, as well as for the internet of things (IoT) and for mission-critical applications, such as autonomous vehicles. Meeting those demands will require many more wireless facilities than are typically deployed today. 5G networks will have many more cells than current wireless technologies, and each cell will serve a much smaller geographic area than today's cells. ough traditional macro cell towers have been getting somewhat smaller and closer together to increase overall broadband capacity, 5G networks will have to use very closely spaced deployments of small cells. Small cells also permit the low- power use of very high, millimeter-wave frequencies. ese frequencies have significantly higher capacity to carry broadband, but they have been largely unusable for mobile broadband to date because of their very short range. Over time, small cells will likely cover entire communities, but initially they will likely be deployed in densely populated areas. Small-cell deployments could, in many cases, be accomplished in these areas using private property, but using public rights-of-way is often more economical and allows carriers to deploy much faster. Unfortunately, these deployments will likely occur in the very areas where cities have invested or plan to invest in area beautification or seek to promote development through aesthetic design standards, requirements for placement of utilities underground, and so forth. at investment and the city's aesthetics are at risk if wireless facilities of varying designs, sizes and conspicuousness are placed throughout these areas. In addition, adding new structures in the rights-of-way can present significant risks to vehicular safety and pedestrian access if not done properly. ESTABLISH COMMUNITY PRIORITIES AND RESOURCES Any useful plan relies on a clear direction for a city's goals and priorities. A plan for advanced wireless capabilities is no different. What are your goals as a city? What trade-offs are you willing to make to achieve those goals? What priorities must be balanced? No two communities will answer these questions the same way, and it is important to discuss them openly and honestly and to have as much information available as possible. Here are items to consider: • Understanding the evolving wireless services and their level of desirability for the city, including support for current or potential smart-city applications • Deployment areas, ranging from narrowly targeted to citywide enhanced mobile broadband and IoT coverage • Status and location of fiber optic deployment and ownership of duct in each area In Baltimore, a wireless infrastructure company apparently installed a new pole on the sidewalk without permits (inset photo to right, on concrete base). Photo by Omar Masry, AICP

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