New York preps for onslaught of small cells with light pole project

New York City is known for being a tough town to outfit with wireless coverage due to its soaring skyscrapers and dense population. But as wireless operators look for ways of densifying their networks to accommodate skyrocketing mobile broadband growth, city officials are seeing a potential revenue opportunity in using light poles to house small cells.

According to RCRWireless, Alphonso Jenkins, deputy commissioner for telecommunications planning for New York City, is hoping to replace a significant number of the city's 250,000 light poles with multi-tenant structures outfitted with small cells from the four wireless operators. The light poles also will have fiber connectivity for backhaul.

Jenkins said that the company is talking with systems integrators such as Crown Castle, ExteNet Systems and Mobilitie about the light pole project as well as numerous other firms including Stealth, Sabre Industries and the Philips-Ericsson joint venture.

Philips-Ericsson is already well versed in deploying light poles outfitted with small cells. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) earlier this year said it was in the process of deploying 200 LED light poles from Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Philips that will reduce power consumption and contain a high-power small cell that will help Verizon increase its coverage in the Los Angeles market.

The LED light poles, which were first announced at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, are a joint effort of Ericsson and Philips. Called Zero Site, the product combines a small cell with LED lighting.  Zero Site can have multiple site configurations with all equipment contained inside the pole and underground. The site can support 2G, 4G and Wi-Fi.

Jenkins, however, said that he believes the New York market is more complex than Los Angeles because of historic landmarks and such and he needs manufacturers to be sensitive to certain requirements. In fact, he envisions having up to 10 different light pole designs.

For more:
- see this RCRWireless article

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