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Thread: The end of cell towers and your ordinance

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    The end of cell towers and your ordinance

    being the technological laggards that we are way up north here, we are still amending our wireless ordinance to react to unhappy people about towers (understandable when they locate in residential neighborhoods)

    anyway, emerging technology is going on now that may not require towers but smaller apparatus to provide the coverage we all demand

    http://www.globaltelecomsbusiness.co...e-station.html

    so, the residential property owners are asking, can we, in residential districts, require this technology for the provision of services instead of towers?

    I am wincing as is my town attorney but I wanted to put it out there to see what others think or know...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I think the technology has to be widely used and accepted before you require it over the conventional tower.

    I would like to learn more about this technology as I am not sure how it will work without the height of a tower. Could this mean we would have digital "antennas" on light poles and roof tops instead of towers? I am intrigued.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    (Former) industry viewpoint

    When I got into that racket (cell tower zoning) a decade ago, it was, "pretty soon we'll bounce signals off satellites and towers won't be needed."

    Here in Favorite City, there's a new internet signal broadcasting service. The provider rented lots of space on "my" towers. We dealt with them just as if they were installing 6' white panel antennas in arrays of three or six.

    After spending some time on the horn with several levels of tech support, it looks like there are several flavors, including your standard cell tower types, and a 1' square panel that is much less obtrusive than a satellite dish. Also check out this one. Here in the burg, there's stuff (technical term) like this at most signalized intersections (and a former city commissioner has won approval for solar panels, invisible from the ground, atop his house in the historic district).

    The cellular industry can move quickly when needed (all towers now have emergency power, just in case), but it tends to want back-up and fail-safe and suspenders along with its belt. Make sure your ordinance stipulates provisions for post-use removal.

    HTH

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I agree with Vel...your best bet now is to have removal provisions in your regs, so that when the technology finally does make the towers obsolete, you can get rid of 'em.

    Preventing/prohibiting towers now (before the technology is widespread) is a dangerous road to take...
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    This sounds like the poletop device-based "mesh" used by the old Ricochet network 10 years ago. Around the same time, there was also talk of a picocell-based mesh that would eventually replace larger tower-based cells. I don't see it happening anytime soon, especially in exurban and rural areas where the population density would make such a network uneconomical.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    This sounds like the poletop device-based "mesh" used by the old Ricochet network 10 years ago. Around the same time, there was also talk of a picocell-based mesh that would eventually replace larger tower-based cells. I don't see it happening anytime soon, especially in exurban and rural areas where the population density would make such a network uneconomical.
    Take a look at the pics in my links. Tiny little things that would be unobstrusive on a roofline or on a telephone pole.

    Before my sector of the industry imploded, I'd regularly see trade journal mentions: biggest growth is in residential areas as people ditch their land-lines. Also for data bandwidth as they add computers to their pockets. IND districts along the highway work well for travelers, but the blasted things are taking over arterials and collectors and parks and cemeteries.

  7. #7
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Here is another story regarding the same technology that lp referred to. It has pictures, too.

    Wireless advances could mean no more cell towers

    NEW YORK As cell phones have spread, so have large cell towers those unsightly stalks of steel topped by transmitters and other electronics that sprouted across the country over the last decade.

    Now the wireless industry is planning a future without them, or at least without many more of them. Instead, it's looking at much smaller antennas, some tiny enough to hold in a hand. These could be placed on lampposts, utility poles and buildings virtually anywhere with electrical and network connections.
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/w...s-1248298.html

  8. #8
    Cyburbian AnvilPartners's avatar
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    Light Radio

    I like this technology, and like DAS (distributed antennas at lower heights) it will have it's place in the toolbox of radio technology infrastructures to serve the nation...but...it's not a magic bullet, and definitely won't replace towers.

    Take a look here, for a better overall view of what this technology really does...and why it's limited.

    Light Radio

    You might also cruise the site where you find the above, there's a lot of good information there, from a guy who helped "write the book".

    Given the amount of data the average user is now moving through the wireless communications infrastructure, and how that is growing, we're going to need all the tools we can get to serve the demand.

    So - don't rush to throw out your codes, just amend them to include the new deployment technology when it matures and becomes available...applying it to the right set of circumstances...

    RES
    "Sometimes you have to get medieval with it...hammer, sparks, sweat, the whole nine yards...so don't forget your asbestos suit."
    Aphorisms on Public Hearings, Planning Guild Handbook (2001).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    AT&T / T-Mobile merger

    What this means for consumers

    What this means for planners: relief from the incessant parade of site acquisition agents applying for tower siting permits.

    Also, as the eventual company reviews its new holdings, some tower sites are likely to be abandoned, sold, or repurposed.

    Now would be a good time to review who owns what in your community, and flag for watchfulness.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    ack this is so frustrating because people want us to require this in our ordinance but my town attorney won't let me - argh

    they wold be exempt from review so at least that is an incentive - building permit only, not bad

  11. #11
    Cyburbian AnvilPartners's avatar
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    I bet you won't see a huge number of sites decommissioned...

    I bet they are buying network density...in anticipation of greater bandwidth and data demands...from newer devices and intensification of existing services.

    Also, don't look for rapid changes soon -- it'll be business as usual for about a year.

    This guy seems to have a good handle on these folks, along with a decent sense of humor!

    AT&T&T

    RES
    "Sometimes you have to get medieval with it...hammer, sparks, sweat, the whole nine yards...so don't forget your asbestos suit."
    Aphorisms on Public Hearings, Planning Guild Handbook (2001).

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AnvilPartners View post
    I bet you won't see a huge number of sites decommissioned...

    I bet they are buying network density...in anticipation of greater bandwidth and data demands...from newer devices and intensification of existing services.

    Also, don't look for rapid changes soon -- it'll be business as usual for about a year.
    ...
    If AT&T&T are anything like All-Zon, they have overlaps (collocations on the same or each others' towers). In my experience, the V-folks ran lists of towers, were shocked at how many "they" now owned (it was Alltel's policy to retain ownership and rent out space), and then they shut down most of the Alltel colo sites. Including one of my favorites: little antennas on tripod mounts stop a converted historic school building.

    (The one in the background, with the black arches)

    If the SprinTel model comes into play, the new company will be stumbling and static for a long time. Customer service on any level will have the meger card played over and over.

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